Dallas Mavericks biggest issue after first 12 games: 2. Starting lineup
New head coach Jason Kidd wasted little time during training camp proclaiming Kristaps Porzingis was going to play the four, and that Dwight Powell would be the team’s starting center flanked by Luka Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Tim Hardaway Jr. The Mavs leadership council had input in Powell starting, but a change could be on the horizon.
KP missed five games, but through 87 minutes on the floor together, the Mavericks starting five has a negative-15.1 net rating. The group is producing 94.4 points per 100 possessions and giving up 109.5. It is a small sample size, but it is the team’s most-used lineup after 12 games.
Powell is not a floor spacer, so teams are using his man to defend the interior. It has limited his effectiveness as a role man, especially with Kristaps Porzingis wanting to play inside the arc more this season.
The Mavericks do not want KP playing the five full-time because of the physical toll it will take on his body, but they need better play from their centers. Powell and backup center Willie Cauley-Stein have both struggled in the first 12 games. It is an area where the Mavs desperately need an upgrade, and it will be interesting to see if Nico Harrison acquires one before the trade deadline.