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Dallas Mavericks: Starting Willie Cauley-Stein unlocks the Mavs potential

Dallas Mavericks Willie Cauley-Stein Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Willie Cauley-Stein Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks, Willie Cauley-Stein
Dallas Mavericks Willie Cauley-Stein Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

How can Willie Cauley-Stein help the Dallas Mavericks defense?

Willie Cauley-Stein finished third in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR last season. As a starter, he has provided some much needed interior defense and shot contesting. Trill was lauded for his defense by the team. His effort and energy are exactly what the Mavericks need moving forward.

With the Kristaps Porzingis back, Cauley-Stein faces less pressure to be the defensive anchor. He can instead switch with KP on defensive assignments as they work off each other inside. Both can protect the rim and grab needed rebounds. The Mavs need that interior defense to thrive.

His high motor and length help Cauley-Stein close out on 3-point shooters and engulf guards who want to drive inside to score. His block rate may not jump out to anyone, but his ability to defend multiple positions is invaluable in a league where players are becoming increasingly more versatile.

Fans have loved watching Trill beat the opposing big man down the floor for an easy score. That energy and effort pays off on both ends of the floor. Cauley-Stein is quickly becoming a fan favorite because of his hard-nosed play. It has earned him more minutes as the season has progressed too.

Next: Offense

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