The Dallas Mavericks had the cap space to be able to make a splash this offseason but remained relatively quiet. A quick glance shows an improved team compared to last season, but it’s safe to say expectations this summer were higher after the hiring of Jason Kidd as head coach and Nico Harrison as the general manager. More than that, cap space will be hard to come by in the future when Luka Doncic‘s massive extension kicks in. With that being said, there’s still time for a couple of moves before the season begins.
Dallas Mavericks: Analyzing the Current Rotation
Point Guard – the Dallas Mavericks Strength
There’s no question that Doncic, fresh off a stellar Olympics, is the star in the backcourt. There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Doncic is the best point guard in the league, and he’ll surely add to this claim this coming season. Behind Doncic are Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, and Tyrell Terry.
Brunson is an ideal ballhandler off the bench. He’ll keep his place as the first name off the bench, and showcase his talents for an upcoming extension. There’s no question Brunson can start for a number of NBA teams. Last season he averaged over 12 points and three assists per game. The scoring will always come, but Brunson must improve on his playmaking.
Burke didn’t carry his NBA Bubble form into last season, as he was mostly a non-contributor. Terry is still young, and showing flashes during the Summer League. Don’t expect to see too much of Burke or Terry, but the Mavericks are deep in the point guard position. It would’ve been wise, however, for the team to add a true secondary ball-handler. A true veteran presence would’ve boosted the Mavericks’ contending chances.
Shooting Guard – a Changed Position
First off, the Mavericks’ top shooting guard is Tim Hardaway Jr. He was re-signed this offseason on a solid contract, less than what he was making prior and a contract that decreases on a year-by-year basis. Overall this was a great move, as Hardaway Jr. is an integral part to the team’s offense and locker room.
The other additions in this department are Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown. Bullock had a career year playing for the New York Knicks last season, and the Mavericks are betting on that same production. He’s now one of the better “three-and-d” specialists in the league, which is what the Mavericks desperately needed. Bullock will play lockdown perimeter defense and drain wide-open shots when Doncic finds him.
Brown doesn’t play many minutes but showed flashes of great shooting potential last season. Basically, he looks to be a less-talented version of Bullock. Depth is depth, however.
The rotation here is decent, but really nothing too special. It remains to be seen who starts, as Hardaway Jr. thrived off the bench last season while Bullock can bring great defense to start off games.
The small forward rotation is interesting, to say the least. Dorian Finney-Smith and Josh Green feature here. Finney-Smith is the prototypical “glue guy” – a nonstop hustler, solid shooter, and great offensive rebounder. He has a great role and place with the Mavericks and is a fan favorite. Green was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft but rarely played last season. There isn’t much upside in this rotation, but the shooting guards will also play small forward every now and then.
At power forward, there’s Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber. Porzingis can and will play center at times, but he remains listed as a power forward. He’s obviously the x-factor in Dallas. A jump to pre-injury form will instantly make Dallas title contenders, but if his decline continues then serious questions will be raised. Effort, toughness, and decision-making will be vital for Porzingis this year. Coach Kidd has confidence in him, so it’s time for Porzingis to show up.
Kleber’s typically been a strong option – a great defender and shooter. Last season, however, he struggled after his bout with Covid-19. If he’s fully recovered now, which is likely, he’ll play plenty of minutes. Kleber is generally an underrated player and a very important piece in Dallas.
The forward rotation will inevitably be judged by the play of Porzingis.
Center – the Dallas Mavericks Conundrum
Dallas has four centers on their roster which is already an odd number, but even more so when considering that Porzingis will feature at the five on occasion. Right now, the faces here are Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Boban Marjanovic, and Moses Brown. Brown is the new addition.
Powell is recovering nicely from his injury in 2019 and showing off his bounce again. Cauley-Stein brings athleticism and energy but remains a back-up at best. Marjanovic is a fan-favorite who shines in certain moments. Lastly, Brown is a prospect but one that showed great flashes last year.
As of now, it can be said that the only player that’s “safe” here is Marjanovic if a trade occurs. The other centers are mostly interchangeable. Powell, however, is a Mavericks veteran and a leader on the team. He’ll probably play the most minutes out of this group. If Dallas keeps this group together, they’d be wise to give Brown more minutes as he has the best shot to emerge as a real starter.
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