Buy or sell 3 trends amid Dallas Mavericks 5-3 start

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Buy or sell on 3 Dallas Mavericks trends: 2. JaVale is done

The Mavs signed JaVale McGee to a three-year deal this offseason and immediately named him the team’s starting center. He replaced Dwight Powell, who played in all 100 games for the team last season, including starting every game on their run to the conference finals. The plan was McGee would upgrade the team’s rebounding and rim protection, while being a quality lob threat.

Starting the seven-footer lasted just seven games, including one McGee missed to rest on the first night of a back-to-back. He has barely played in the first eight games, and when he was on the floor, the entire team has struggled. The Mavericks were getting off to slow starts and struggling mightily on defense.

McGee has played 72 minutes so far this season, and Dallas has a negative-12.68 net rating with him on the floor, according to PBP Stats, and they are plus 11.04 without the seven-footer. For context, the Mavericks have the best offense and a middle-of-the-pack defense without him on the floor. With him, they’d have the worst offense in the league and rank 25th in defensive rating.

VERDICT: Sell (for now)

JaVale McGee has struggled to start the season, but he is fitting in on a new team and learning a new defensive scheme. The Mavericks have played more drop coverage this season because of McGee’s skill at defending the rim, but the 34-year-old has not lived up to it.

It is only eight games, so let’s not write him off yet. If McGee is still struggling after 20 or 25 contests, this could be worrying. He has three years left on his new deal, and head coach Jason Kidd played him just 4.3 minutes in the team’s last game against the Raptors. McGee’s production is something to watch closely moving forward.