Head coach Jason Kidd says JaVale McGee is Dallas Mavericks starting center

Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee
Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks agreed to a deal with JaVale McGee on the opening night of free agency. The seven-footer took most of the team’s taxpayer mid-level exception, and he fills their need for a rim protector and rebounder in the middle.

Reports quickly began to surface that McGee would be the team’s starting center next season. The Mavericks traded for Christian Wood during the NBA Finals, but Dallas appeared committed to starting the two side by side in the frontcourt.

Head coach Jason Kidd confirmed that McGee would be the team’s starting five next season during an interview on ESPN from the Las Vegas Summer League. Here is a look at why that should not come as a surprise.

Head coach Jason Kidd names JaVale McGee Dallas Mavericks starting center

Kidd learned a lot from Frank Vogel during his two seasons as an assistant in Los Angeles. What did the Lakers do during that stretch? They started JaVale McGee at center next to Anthony Davis. The seven-footer averaged 19.6 minutes per game, but starting him at the five saved Davis for the playoffs. It let him play more on the perimeter and avoid the physical pounding in the paint.

Kidd appears likely to do something similar with Wood. He is going to start McGee at the five and save Wood’s legs for the playoffs. Fans can see the team’s updated depth chart after their free-agent moves thus far here.

JaVale McGee gives the Mavericks a strong rebound and rim protector at the five, who is one of the best roll men in the league. The seven-footer will thrive playing off Luka Doncic, and he changes the way Dallas can play next season.

Kidd also noted that Spencer Dinwiddie would be starting in the backcourt next to Luka Doncic next season. Fans can see the head coach's full interview on ESPN's NBA Today below.

Fans should not expect JaVale McGee to play more than 25 minutes per game, but he will be the team’s starting center. Head coach Jason Kidd confirmed it on July 8. Expect him to be a significant upgrade over Dwight Powell, and stay tuned to see how he performs.

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