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5 Dallas Mavericks training camp battles to watch

Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood
Dallas Mavericks, Christian Wood / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks held their first practice of training camp on Sept. 27, and it was the official start of the 2022-2023 season. They are fresh off a trip to the conference finals. Dallas is eager to make it back and advance further this year, but it won’t be easy in a stacked Western Conference.

Jalen Brunson left the team in free agency to join the New York Knicks. The second-round pick had become the team’s second-leading scorer, and he was a key reason why Dallas unexpectedly made the conference finals. The Mavs upgraded their frontcourt this offseason, but losing Brunson stole the headlines.

Training camp is a time to gear up for the regular season and to sort out the rotation. Head coach Jason Kidd announced the starting lineup during summer league, but the coaching staff still has plenty to decide during camp. Here are five position battles to watch over the next three weeks.

Dallas Mavericks position battle to watch during training camp: 5. Ntilikina vs. Green

Luka Doncic will be the team’s primary ball-handler and playmaker, but the departure of Brunson left a significant hole, and Dallas did not sign a replacement in free agency. Spencer Dinwiddie moves into the starting lineup to play JB’s role from last season, but that leaves Dinwiddie’s spot wide open.

The Mavs were at their best with two playmakers on the floor last season. It is why they moved Brunson into the starting five and traded Kristaps Porzingis for Dinwiddie. Dallas currently needs a third creator to maximize those groups, and Frank Ntilikina will battle Josh Green for that role during training camp.

Ntilikina was drafted as a point guard, but he struggled as a lead ball-handler in New York. His defense helped him get on the floor last season. but can he handle the ball and make enough plays to earn additional playing time this season? Does Green surpass him in the rotation with an outstanding training camp?

Neither player is ideally suited for the role, so it will likely come down to who plays better over the next three weeks. Ntilikina should have the edge, but the spot is up for grabs.