Are Positional Concerns a Big Hang-up for Mavs and Noel?
The Dallas Mavericks have some questions that have not really been brought up yet this offseason. One of the big concerns, in my opinion, is how Dallas plans to utilize Dirk Nowitzki and Nerlens Noel together on the court.
It is getting harder and harder to talk about Nerlens Noel, a player who really should be signed by the Dallas Mavericks by now. Instead, we get to talk about speculation as to why there is still disagreement. A big concern in my eyes could be Carlisle’s inability to effectively play Dirk and Noel in the starting lineup together.
Dirk may be getting old but he is still and will always be Dirk. It would seem crazy to take him out of the starting lineup simply due to the respect that he deserves, but is there really any other option for Dallas?
The alternative would mean that in some games, Nerlens Noel would have to come off the bench. This would not be a disrespectful thing to him by any means, but playing matchups is going to be important for the team this year and Noel+Dirk is usually an unfavorable matchup for Dallas.
This isn’t a sure thing by any means, but I would be shocked if this wasn’t brought up at some point during the lengthy contract talks that have already been had. I can see how each party would feel like they are right in this situation, so let’s take a look at what the argument for either side would most likely be.
Nerlens Noel’s side:
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If I am Nerlens Noel in this situation, I can’t help but think that starting is my number one priority. Noel was very excited to be joining the Mavs and knew that he would play an important role on the team. That does not mean he was ready to take a bench role until Dirk finally decides to hang it up for good, though.
I am sure that Noel understands who Dirk is and what the team is willing to do for him, but it is time for Noel to prove his big time contract and he can’t do that very well from the bench. Something has got to give and that starting spot on the floor should not be one of the considerations.
Mark Cuban/Rick Carlisle/Donnie Nelson’s side:
Dirk gets what he deserves and that includes a starting spot every night he feels up to playing. Although it is frustrating that he and Noel are not quite ready to co-exist on the court together, there will be plenty of games where we can start them at the 4 and 5.
On those nights where both are not able to start, Noel should know that he will be the first player off the bench. Dirk usually goes about 6-8 minutes before they pull him out for the rest of the first quarter, meaning that even if Noel doesn’t start, he will be getting starters minutes. Plus a shot at the 6th man of the year award can’t be all bad, right?
Next: Dallas Mavericks: The Nerlens Noel Standoff Will Have Repercussions
There are a lot of excuses we can make for why Dallas and Nerlens are still without a deal, but in the end it is all going to boil down to pride. Neither party is free of fault in that area.