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Dallas Mavericks: Small Ball is the Answer

The Dallas Mavericks needed to switch up their play to a degree after trading Kristaps Porzingis. Their results still entirely rely on the greatness of Luka Doncic, but it’s no question that the team’s big men aren’t on par with the rest of the Western Conference elite. For example, other teams have stars such as Deandre AytonNikola JokicRudy GobertKarl-Anthony Towns, and more. The Mavericks’ recent comeback win over the Golden State Warriors, however, showed that “small ball” is the way to win moving forward.

Dallas Mavericks: Small Ball is the Answer

The Current Bigs

The current list of Dallas big men includes Dwight PowellMaxi Kleber, Davis BertansMarquese Chriss, and Boban Marjanovic.

Powell can be an effective weapon at times on offense but doesn’t offer too much on defense and on rebounding. At times he can be a liability in those departments. He remains the Mavericks’ starting center, but only averages 7.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Kleber is rather inconsistent, but his play is key to how far the Mavericks can go. He’s an elite defender and can drain the three. His rebounding is solid as well. What’s odd about Kleber is that every now and then he’ll be completely erased from a game. His spot in the rotation is a guarantee, but he’s not always a game-changer.

Bertans arrived in the Porzingis trade. He’s been solid thus far in the short time he’s been in Dallas. With that being said, Bertans is a shooter and floor-spacer. He’s not a great defensive option, especially in the interior even though he’s considered a big man. Bertans is a decent weapon off the bench, but nothing more.

Lastly, there’s Chriss and Marjanovic. Chriss received a two-year deal after strong showings in his 10-day contracts. He’s averaging about five points and four rebounds per game. Overall he’s a depth player. Marjanovic is a fan-favorite but also a contributor when he plays. The issue is his mobility and stamina, so he’s very match-up dependent.

The Dallas Mavericks Must Embrace Small Ball

Doncic, of course, is key. Dallas has a plethora of talent to surround him with a small ball lineup, however.

Jalen Brunson remains key. He’s been the Mavericks’ second-best player this season, slotting nicely alongside Doncic in the backcourt. Brunson is averaging 16 points and over five assists per game this season, being extremely reliable on offense.

Then, of course, there’s new addition Spencer Dinwiddie. He flashed his brilliance versus the Warriors, dropping 25 points, five assists, and four rebounds on a team-high +17. Closing lineups, or comeback lineups, will surely feature the trio of Doncic, Brunson, and Dinwiddie.

Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith will feature as the “bigs” in the small ball line-ups. Both are excellent perimeter defenders as well as three-point shooters. Bullock is really coming into his own as well. Sophomore Josh Green features off the bench as he’s been much improved as well.

Last, but certainly not least, there’s Tim Hardaway Jr. A broken foot will keep him sidelined up until playoff time or right before it, but he’s another great weapon in a small ball lineup. Although streaky, he brings excellent shooting and fiery offense.

Dallas will still use their big men but expect small ball lineups to be closing many games and featuring in clutch situations.


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