Ranking 15 worst Mavericks starters of the Dirk Nowitzki era

Hopefully the Mavericks do not have to start anyone this bad in the Luka Doncic era.
Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki
Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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12. Dennis Smith Jr.

The Mavs instantly made him their starting point guard after selecting him ninth overall in 2017. It was just the second time Dallas missed the playoffs in 17 years, and Dirk was on the decline. They needed a new building block, and DSJ got the first crack.

Smith Jr. struggled to get along with head coach Rick Carlisle, who is notoriously hard on his point guards. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steal in 29.7 minutes per game, but shot 39.5 percent from the field and 31.3 percent on his threes as a rookie.

The Mavericks traded up to select Luka Doncic in 2018, and the duo was an awkward fit on the court. DSJ needed the ball in his hands, but Luka was the superior creator and offensive initiator. Smith Jr. started 32 games before being traded to the Knicks in the package for Kristaps Porzingis.

Dennis Smith Jr. made 101 starts with the Dallas Mavericks and has opened just 49 of his 169 games since. He has not made more than 15 starts in a season since 2019, and the 6’2 guard has failed to live up to the hype of being a top-ten pick. The Mavs struggled whenever DSJ started. Turnovers and shot selection were issues and helped make him one of the worst starters of the Dirk Nowitzki era.