How playing without Luka Doncic could help the Dallas Mavericks: 2. Solve the rotation
Head coach Jason Kidd stuck with a 10-man rotation on Wednesday night in Phoenix with Trey Burke sliding in for the injured Doncic, but he ended up playing mostly single big man lineups throughout the game. Dwight Powell saw just 22 minutes of action with Reggie Bullock playing 26. Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, and Sterling Brown also all played 14-plus.
Without Luka Doncic playing his normal 35 minutes, Kidd has more freedom to experiment with his rotation. Maxi Kleber also figures to be a key piece, and he is out with an oblique injury. It appears the Hall of Fame point guard and his staff are realizing the Mavs play their best with Kristaps Porzingis and DP at the five surrounded by four guards/wings.
Playing without Luka presented Willie Cauley-Stein with an opportunity to step up and get more active in the offense, but he continued his struggles. In his nine minutes in Wednesday’s game, Trill recorded just one rebound and one turnover, and the Mavs were outscored by eight points. The seven-footer is likely to be dropped from the rotation when the team gets healthy.
The Mavericks' need for another shot creator and ball-handler was evident as they failed to top 100 points without Luka Doncic in the lineup. Jalen Brunson has filled that secondary role admirably, and he figures to be part of the team’s closing lineup moving forward, but Dallas would love to add another to give them two on the floor at all times.