Dallas Mavericks wing Courtney Lee drew a surprise start in the season opener against the Wizards. Will Coach Carlisle stick with that?
The Dallas Mavericks had an open competition for their fifth starting spot during training camp. The fan base was split on which talent they wanted because each has a specific skill set. Justin Jackson gives them shooting. Tim Hardaway Jr. provides instant offense. Dorian Finney-Smith improves the Mavs defense. Supporters assumed one of those three would have the role on opening night.
The Mavericks kicked off the regular season with a 108-100 win over the Washington Wizards on Oct. 23. Their new star duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 57 points and propelled Dallas to victory.
Coach Carlisle threw a curveball on Wednesday when he decided to start Courtney Lee. The veteran did open one of the team’s five preseason games. Tim Cato sent out the following tweet on Wednesday.
That leaves the door wide open for anything to happen. Here is what to expect.
Why Lee won’t start
Carlisle told us during the preseason that he planned to play the matchups at that wing position. So fans should expect it to remain fluid throughout the season.
Lee only played 16 minutes against the Wizards. That was the fewest of any player in the Mavericks ten-man opening night rotation. Dallas had a massive lead in the third quarter which impacted the lineups late, but Finney-Smith, Jackson, and Hardaway Jr. each saw more action than Lee in the contest.
Why Lee would start
Coach Carlisle trusts Courtney Lee and values his defense. The 34-year-old is not going to command the ball. He is willing to play within his role. Lee defends hard and shoots when he is wide open. Dallas values that.
The Mavericks also have to play Jackson and Finney-Smith more in the frontcourt with Dwight Powell out. That opens up additional playing time on the wing. Lee filled those minutes admirably on opening night.
Dallas Mavericks supporters should expect the fifth starter to remain fluid throughout the season. Jackson, Finney-Smith, Lee, and Hardaway Jr. will all get opportunities at the role. The Smoking Cuban will back with more analysis on the organization, so be sure to check back with us.