10 Biggest early-season surprises for the Dallas Mavericks

Nov 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and Dallas Mavericks
Nov 1, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and Dallas Mavericks / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Minutes distribution between Jaden Hardy, Seth Curry, and Dante Exum

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd isn’t leaving a lot of minutes to fight for guards not named Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving,  and Tim Hardaway Jr. on this Dallas Mavericks roster. Irving and Doncic are both clocking over 35 minutes per game when they’ve played, and Hardaway Jr. is averaging just a hedge under 30 minutes per game even though he’s coming off the bench.

There was a lot of hype in preseason surrounding Dante Exum, as many had diagnosed him as someone who would be the lead ball handler in the Mavericks’ second unit. However, he along with Seth Curry have played sparingly to start the year for Dallas barring two games that Irving was out due to injury.

Jaden Hardy’s role on this team looked even more obsolete through the first few games of regular season action as he was coming off of an injury to start the season, but the second-year guard has been a solid spark plug in the minutes he’s been granted by Kidd.

Hardy has sort of taken heed of the third ball handler off-the-bench role in Dallas the past few games through his ability to make outside shots in key moments, but his role is far from ensured this early on in the season. Dallas will obviously need Exum’s point-of-attack defense and ability to push the pace a lot more in some games compared to others, but it’s puzzling that he isn’t getting a little more than the 5.3 minutes per game given how well he’s produced in limited minutes.

Curry is sort of the odd man out if Hardy continues to keep proving his worth to head coach Jason Kidd, but Hardy could very well eat up most of the minutes between the three of him, Curry, and Exum if he keeps the turnovers down and stays disciplined on defense.

It will be interesting to see how the minute distribution plays out between the three aforementioned guards going forward, but Kidd will need to recognize that he’ll have to lean on at least one of them a little more going forward so Doncic and Irving aren’t burnt out down the stretch of the season.