Case against Tim Hardaway Jr. starting for the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs
The Mavs brought Hardaway Jr. off the bench in an attempt to improve the defense. They went bigger with their best defensive lineup on the floor after the rough stretch that pushed them five games under .500. Dallas got back in the playoff picture starting Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson, and Maxi Kleber. The group’s 22 starts are still the most among any five-man combination for the Mavericks this season.
Coach Carlisle has options in the playoffs. He can play big or small. The Mavs can go offense-heavy or prioritize defense. They can surround Doncic with four shooters or give him a lineup more suited to attacking inside. Some of it will be matchups driven, but the rest will come from playing the hot hand on a nightly basis.
Regardless of his starting status, expect Carlisle to use Hardaway Jr. with the second unit for stretches. He has a nice chemistry with Jalen Brunson and Dallas needs players that can create shots when Luka Doncic rests.
Health will play an important factor too. If Kristaps Porzingis is out in the postseason, the Mavericks need Hardaway Jr. to play more minutes and be the secondary scorer. When fully healthy, THJ may still be the best answer given their personnel.
Will coach Carlisle start Tim Hardaway Jr. in the playoffs? Should he do that? Let us make our final verdict.
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