Dallas Mavericks: Should Willie Cauley Stein continue to start?
The Dallas Mavericks had a rollercoaster of a start to the 2020-2021 season. They won two of their first six games, but both victories were against conference semifinalists from a season ago. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle inserted Willie Cauley-Stein into the starting five after that rough stretch, and it sparked a four-game winning streak.
All-Star Kristaps Porzingis returned on Jan. 13 but continues to play his way back into shape. The Mavericks have been dealing with COVID issues as they lost two straight games to drop their record to 6-6 so far. Fans have yet to see the team at full strength, but they know they have plenty of potential.
With the Houston Rockets trading James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, the Southwest division figures to crown a new champion for the first time in three years. The crown is up for grabs with multiple teams planning to make a push including the preseason favorite Mavs.
Why Willie Cauley-Stein is the key to the Dallas Mavericks starting five
Coach Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the NBA. He knows how to adjust and maximize his rosters. With injuries, health and safety protocol concerns, and inconsistent lineups, Carlisle has had to make difficult decisions to keep the team competitive.
One bright spot through the chaos has been utilizing Willie Cauley-Stein as the starting center. Keeping him in the opening unit might be the catalyst to unlocking the potential of the new-look Dallas Mavericks.