Carlisle’s Experiments Indicate Shift in Dallas Mavericks’ Season

Mar 23, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle reacts during the first quarter against the LA Clippers at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle reacts during the first quarter against the LA Clippers at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks have 11 games left in the season and after their win over the Los Angeles Clippers, a shift seems to be taking place.

With just under an hour before tip-off on Thursday night against the Clippers at home, word came out about a starting lineup change for the Mavericks.

It was time to insert Nerlens Noel into the starting lineup and move Yogi Ferrell to the bench. This, in turn, pushed Seth Curry to the point guard spot against Chris Paul. Something that fans in Dallas, and outside of Dallas, have been wondering if Dallas would do at some point in the season.

The Mavericks ended up beating the Clippers behind 23 points from Seth Curry. Curry went 9 of 14 from the field while shooting 50% from behind the arc. His matchup, Chris Paul, finished with 15 points and 6 assists in the loss.

So why the lineup change now?

"“It’s a lineup we need to look at,”  Rick Carlisle said after the game. “We got to look at Curry at point with a real conventional team out there. We got to look at Noel with Dirk and Barnes. We got to see how things would shake out with Barnes at three.”"

Does a team pushing for the playoffs decide it’s time to experiment with new lineups and roles?

The mantra over the past month has still been that shooting for the playoffs is the main goal. Now, the Mavericks sit with a 31-40 record heading into home games against the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder.

It looks like it’s time to shift focus into what the Mavericks truly have going into next season.

“This is the time to look at that stuff. We are trying to win games, which is pretty obvious. To do it in a meaningful setting is something that is important,” Carlisle said.

“This is the time to look at that stuff” -Carlisle

Carlisle’s statement of “this is the time to look at that stuff” is the key to everything. With the playoffs all but out of the picture now, this “time” at the end of the season looks to be a time of experimenting for the Mavericks.

Carlisle was even asked about gameplans and changing stuff up with Nerlens Noel at practice earlier in the week. When asked if a full training camp is what was needed for Noel, Carlisle admitted that they are trying a lot of that stuff now.

“A full training camp will help, but we are doing a lot of this stuff now. A bit on the fly. One danger with young players is giving them so many options out on the floor,” Carlisle said.

So with 11 games left in the season, what can we expect out of Dallas?

Really, nobody knows.

Yogi Ferrell went from starting the last 13 games to being the third point guard off the bench on Thursday night. Nerlens Noel went from logging under 23 minutes over the past six games to starting and logging 32 minutes on Thursday. Harrison Barnes is getting time at the small forward spot now.

Rick Carlisle the wizard is in his lair mixing up potions and there’s no telling what to expect over these last two weeks.

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One experiment that will get some time is definitely Seth Curry at point guard.

“We are going to give this a look,” Carlisle said about Curry at point guard. “I don’t know how many games its going to be. It may be the rest of the year, it may not. It may be a couple.”

If him going head-to-head with Chris Paul is any indication, then Curry should get some quality minutes at point. Running the point under Carlisle can be difficult, but Carlisle thinks he is up for the challenge.

“There is a certain aptitude and understanding of the game that goes with being a point guard. He has demonstrated those abilities on a lot of occasions. But until we put the ball in his hands and really take a look at it, we are not going to know for sure. Now is the time to do it,” Carlisle said.

Now is exactly the time to do it.

For the first time all season, it looks as if Dallas is looking towards the 2017-18 season instead of pushing for the playoffs.

Next: Steph & Seth Curry Talk About Their Surreal Matchup

With a draft pick in the lottery and younger team being constructed, now is the time to see what you truly have moving forward…even if it means losing some games.