5 options for the Dallas Mavericks closing lineup

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd is still searching for the team’s closing lineup. He has prioritized defense since taking over the job in the summer of 2021, and he prefers a defensive-first group around Luka Doncic to finish out the games, but after losing three clutch contests in their first six games of the 2022-23 season, there has been plenty of chatter about who should finish for the Mavericks.

Fans want Christian Wood on the floor, but the current minute’s pattern does not make that possible. He enters midway through the third quarter when Spencer Dinwiddie heads to the bench, and the Mavericks need C-Wood on the floor in the six minutes Luka rests to open the fourth. They cannot play him 18 straight minutes, so Wood needs a break when Doncic returns at the midway point of the fourth, and it has been at least a few minutes.

Coach Kidd has seven options to look at to fill the five spots in his closing group. Luka Doncic is locked in at point guard, and he prefers keeping Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock on the floor late because of their perimeter defense, but the final two spots are up for grabs. Here are five looks J-Kidd will try this season, and the advantages each brings to the court.

Dallas Mavericks closing lineup option: 5. Two bigs to combat size

This group is situational but might be what the Mavs need if they face the Minnesota Timberwolves. With Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns in the frontcourt, Dallas needs size to hold their own on the defensive end, so they could turn to two big men to finish the game.

PG: Luka Doncic

SG: Reggie Bullock

SF: Dorian Finney-Smith

PF: Christian Wood

C: Maxi Kleber

C-Wood is the main point of contention here. Can he hold up on the defensive end to be part of any closing group? Do Wood’s offensive contributions outweigh his defensive issues? This unit needs to hide Luka and C-Wood on defense, which is not easy no matter the opponent.

Head coach Jason Kidd will try this group at points this season, but the results will likely be mixed. The Mavs may need C-Wood on the floor to score, and Kleber’s unique ability to guard on the perimeter and in the paint makes this group intriguing. Their size is definitely an edge, but do they have enough playmaking to maximize this lineup in crunch time?

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