Why did Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd not use his best lineups?
Kidd likely avoided his best lineups for a myriad of reasons in Atlanta. The Hawks played their starting five for 18.9 of the 48 minutes in the opener, and it featured two big men in John Collins and Clint Capela. Dallas did not want to match Kristaps Porzingis on Capela, so they stuck with a center when he was on the floor.
Reggie Bullock only played one of the team’s four preseason games, and he was away from the team for multiple days as he dealt with a personal issue. The 30-year-old only played 15 minutes in the opener, but he may not have been ready for a full workload after missing time during training camp.
Taking it a step further, when Dallas went small against the Hawks, coach Kidd opted for two shot creators on the floor. With Kristaps Porzingis at the five, he played Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson for 1.3 minutes and Luka and Trey Burke for 1.4.
Kidd opted for offense over defense in these sets, which could speak to how he envisions the Mavericks. He wants more ball movement and is not playing the same five-out system fans are used to seeing under Rick Carlisle, but playing Brunson or Burke over Bullock or Kleber leaves Dallas with a defensive hole that the other players on the floor cannot fill.