4 Rotation changes Jason Kidd must consider for Mavericks to win Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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1. Start Dereck Lively II in favor of Daniel Gafford

The Dallas Mavericks have one of the best problems in basketball. They have two starting caliber centers with Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford, and although this duo forms an elite one-two punch, one center is the clear better option against the Boston Celtics.

Lively II has been outplaying Gafford, and it may be time for Jason Kidd to start him over Gafford. Lively II moves his feet much better in space compared to Gafford, and with the playstyle of Boston's bigs, it's necessary that the center can close out effectively and play sound defense on the perimeter.

In Game 1, Gafford played 14 minutes compared to Lively II's 18 minutes, and it's clear who the better option is in this series. Within the first few minutes of the game, Gafford flew past Al Horford when closing out on a three and it led to a Horford dunk.

Starting Lively II wouldn't be too much of a change, especially since Lively II already plays more and often closes the game, and it could help the Mavs begin the game with heavy energy.

The Mavs need Lively II at his best moving forward in this series, especially since his Game 1 was fairly ineffective due to foul trouble, and he could be a big part of slowing Kristaps Porzingis down. Lively II was bringing physicality against Porzingis, which he clearly didn't like, but foul trouble plagued his night.

This isn't suggesting that the Mavs should panic by any means, but a slight change in the team's opening lineup could be the recipe for a dominant start. Gafford had a good game or two against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Lively II has been a bit better.

Kidd has had an excellent playoffs, but a few changes could be key later in this series.

For all the latest on Dereck Lively II, Daniel Gafford, and the Dallas Mavericks throughout the 2024 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, stay tuned.