The Dallas Mavericks have had a very solid start to the season. They are in the thick of things for playoff contention, and Luka Doncic is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate. With the talent on board and the number one rated offense in the league at this point, however, one would expect them to be better than 6-4 including a loss to the lowly New York Knicks. The Mavericks rotation issues have been the biggest concern. There’s little continuity, and some of the wrong players are seeing too much time on the floor.
Issues with the Dallas Mavericks Rotations
Truth be told, Mavericks fans weren’t ecstatic with Tim Hardaway being included in the Kristaps Porzingis deal. He’s not very efficient as his contract is a burden. That’s been clear to start off the season.
Hardaway is a “high-volume scoring shooting guard.” Well, it doesn’t seem like it.
He’s averaging just under 12 points per game in 23 minutes a game, but his shooting statistics show why this is a problem. His total field goal percentage of 37 percent and three-point shooting percentage of under 33 percent are worrisome. He takes too many shots on a team with better options and is starting to feel like a liability.
His use under head coach Rick Carlisle is questionable. Is Hardaway playing this much because Carlisle truly believes he’s a strong scorer? Or is it because of his salary? Players like Seth Curry, Delon Wright, and Jalen Brunson have to be eating a good portion of Hardaway’s minutes.
Dwight Powell is an original Carlisle favorite, has a strong pick-and-roll game (especially with Doncic), and is an electrifying dunker. As a big man, though, he lacks two very important skills.
Too many elite big men, abundant in the Western Conference, take advantage of Powell. A few examples are Anthony Davis and Julius Randle. Even Daniel Theis from the Boston Celtics showed Powell up in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks and Celtics game earlier this week. There is a legitimate chance for the Mavericks to make the playoffs. Powell needs to step up his defensive intensity for this to happen.
He’s also a relatively weak rebounder for his size. At 6’10” and 240 lbs., Powell should be a beast on the boards. Instead, he averages just about five as rebounding continues to be a major issue in Dallas. Powell has been a true Maverick for the past couple seasons, and many fans respect him for this, but he needs to step it up to solve the Mavericks rotation issues upfront.
Curry was brought into Dallas to shoot. It’s a shoot-first league now. It seems to be commonplace to shoot anywhere within 40 feet of the basket. Curry, of course, is one of the league’s elite shooters but he hasn’t really gotten the opportunity to display that this season.
He’s shooting a low 37.8 percent from three thus far. This isn’t entirely his fault, as he hasn’t been given a true chance to set a rhythm. With about 20 minutes a game under his belt, it’s time to take away some minutes from Hardaway. It was only a couple of seasons ago when Curry had his breakout year with the Mavericks when he scored 13 points per game and knocked down just under 43 percent of his threes.
Boban Marjanovic’s lack of playing time has been a mystery. He isn’t a flashy player, but he’s a massive interior presence and a strong rebounder. These are two of the Mavericks’ weaknesses, yet they’re not using the one player who can help fix it.
There have been two games where Marjanovic was given the opportunity to play exactly 15 minutes. The first, a win versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, saw Marjanovic post 12 points and eight rebounds. The second, a win versus the Memphis Grizzlies, saw him post nine points, five rebounds, one block, and one steal. The talent and skill are there, and he should be utilized more. More Marjanovic minutes will help the Mavericks rotation issues in the frontcourt.
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