Why the Dallas Mavericks must find a way to slow big men before the playoffs
The Mavs like to play small. They are at their best on the offensive end with Kristaps Porzingis at the five and three shooters flanking Luka Doncic. Dorian Finney-Smith plays significant minutes at the four. That puts a lot of pressure on Porzingis to rebound with the rest of the lineup having to chip in when they can. Valanciunas bullied KP inside for multiple putbacks on Wednesday night. Here Memphis gets two offensive boards on the same possession.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/04/14/0022000837/369/e0bb4099-aa83-89a5-048d-098da9a7172c_1280x720.mp4
The problem is not going away in the playoffs. No matter what opponent Dallas draws in the first round, they will have a big man capable of dominating the paint and wreaking havoc on the boards. Currently, the Mavs would face Memphis in the first play-in game. If they win, Dallas would battle the Suns with Deandre Ayton in the first round.
If they move up to sixth, the LA Clippers with Ivica Zubac could be waiting. Zubac may not have the same name recognition as Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, or Ayton, but he has averaged 13.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in three meetings versus the Mavericks this season, including grabbing three offensive boards per game.
The Dallas Mavericks will need to find a way to keep big men off the glass in the playoffs, so what can they change?
Next: How can Mavs adjust?