Dallas Mavericks should shift to playing smaller with a single big man
Fans have already seen this taking place. When examining minutes per game for the season, four starters lead the way with Jalen Brunson fifth at 29.2 per game. It was over 30 before he suffered a first-half injury against the Clippers on Tuesday night and never returned. Hopefully, he makes a quick recovery because the Mavs need JB running the second unit.
The team’s center group has been uninspiring so far. Dwight Powell does not have the same burst after tearing his Achilles in 2020, and Willie Cauley-Stein has struggled this season. Boban Marjanovic is a fantastic change of pace option, but his defensive issues are well documented. Moses Brown struggles to defend in space and has played just 18 total minutes in the first 17 games.
Those four players will all be on the fringes of the rotation in the playoffs. The rotation will get trimmed with Brunson, Reggie Bullock, and Maxi Kleber playing the majority of the minutes not taken by Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dorian Finney-Smith. Kleber’s ability to guard on the perimeter allows him to play like a wing, instead of a traditional big man.
The final place in the postseason rotation will be a battle between Sterling Brown, Frank Ntilikina, and the centers assuming the Mavericks do not make a roster upgrade before the trade deadline. Dallas needs more production from some of those players to shift to strictly playing with one big man.