After the Dallas Mavericks' 96-122 loss to the Houston Rockets yesterday, the Mavericks fell to seventh in the Western Conference with a record of 16-12. Dallas suffered their first three-game losing streak of the season and are 5-5 in their last 10 games as they continue to try and work through an assortment of injuries to key players.
Mavericks rookie big man Dereck Lively II has been one of those injuries unfortunately, and Dallas has severely missed having a good rim protector at the back line of their defense in the last three games since Lively II went down with an ankle injury against Portland.
Lively II will certainly assume his starting role upon his return, but that may not be till well after the turn of the new year as Mavericks' head coach Jason Kidd said that there was "no timetable" for Lively II's return after Dallas' loss to the LA Clippers on Wednesday.
Could proven veteran alleviate Mavericks' need for a backup center?
The Mavericks' front office is still likely sifting through a bunch of trade targets ahead of the NBA trade deadline on February 8, 2024. Dallas' biggest priority should be finding help on the wing, though they have been getting some unexpected jolts from two-way players on the wing in some of these recent games amidst all the injuries to the roster.
Dallas reportedly registered interest in Detroit's Isaiah Stewart recently, as the Mavericks seem keen on adding another backup center given Maxi Kleber's injury as well as Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes not playing up to par with how they have in seasons past.
Perhaps Dallas should focus more on adding depth through defensive-minded wings though, as Holmes had his best game of the season against the Houston Rockets last night, even though the Mavericks got blown out. Holmes finished with 16 points and eight rebounds (five of them being offensive boards), and Holmes tied with Dexter Dennis for the highest plus-minus on the team last night at +10.
Holmes' role on the Mavericks has been confusing this year as he's shown flashes of being the player he once was in Sacramento, but has had a pretty short leash with head coach Jason Kidd. Holmes isn't the rim protector that Lively II is, but he's pretty mobile as a shorter center at 6-foot-9. If Holmes can be at least average or slightly better defensively, then the rebounding and offensive upside may be enough to override the Mavericks' desire to trade for a backup center.
Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber's best days seem to look further and further away as each game passes by so Dallas could desperately use an aggressive roll man who is active on the glass. Holmes can provide just that, and he looked like he had extra pep in his step against Houston last night as there were multiple possessions that he took a Rockets player off the dribble from 15+ feet out and scored.
Holmes will need to prove that he can provide this for Dallas on a consistent basis if he wants to negate rumors of being traded, especially when you consider his contract. However, at 30-years-old it would make sense for Holmes to still have a couple more good seasons in the tank, so we'll see what he does as more opportunities arise for him to play.
For more on Richaun Holmes and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks, stay plugged in with us as we'll have you covered.