FanPost

Mavs Lineup Roundabout

I, like so many of you, am starting to get fed up with Carlisle’s lineup choices. Obviously we don’t have the added insight of practice activities and I’m sure RC and crew have more advanced statistics than we could ever imagine but some things are just so painfully evident during games that everyone who’s even seen a basketball can pick up on:

  1. Kaman and Dirk can’t be on the floor together for long stretches. This is pretty apparent (so much so that Dirk even said it). Neither of them are very good one-on-one defenders or good individual rebounders which leads to lots of open shots and drives as well as second chance points on the defensive end. Kaman certainly has his place in this roster. RC loves him at the beginning of games because he is willing and able to come out, take the first 8 shots, and get the offense rolling (much like Howard did back in the day). This can be really helpful for a pass based offense (which the flow is supposed to be) since the offense can get slow and stagnant if shots aren’t falling at the beginning. Dirk also likes to ease his way into the game, smartly choosing to save a lot of his iso time and energy for later in the game, so the Mavs do need someone that can get the offense going if the flow doesn’t automatically kick in for everyone.

    For this role as instant offense, Kaman is perfect – he is a willing shooter and a very efficient scorer. The pairing with Dirk just doesn’t work though. There is a decent amount of overlap between their offensive games which forces Dirk further outside leading to even fewer offensive rebounding chances. And Kaman is simply a blackhole on the offensive end. He is a good player and capable of carrying an offense for stretches as he has demonstrated this year but he has yet to show that he can’t play within the offense (which is something that Dirk has been great at over the years and needs reciprocation from his teammates). The defensive end is really where this pairing comes up short but I think we are also short-changing both players on the offensive end as well by having them out there at the same time. Kaman and Carter should be anchoring the bench scoring since they're more than capable of holding up the offense while the starters take a break.

  2. Further driving home the above point is the fact that Brand and Dirk have been so good together when they’ve had chances. Brand is not nearly the offense weapon that Kaman is but he is a much more willing passer, a much better one-on-one and help defender, and a better rebounder. All of those attributes are what we need out there with Dirk, not more scoring. Brand is averaging under 22 minutes a game while shooting over 55% in December and January as well as pulling down over 6 boards per. It is an absolute mystery why he can’t get more playing time especially in games like last night against the Jazz where he was 5-7 for 11 pts to go with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in only 20 minutes.

  3. The small-ball lineups don’t work. I can’t understand how Carlisle continued to push on the rebounding issue and say that the Mavs just need to hustle more when he consistently played Marion at the 4 and even sometimes at 5. Marion is a great rebounder for his size but it just doesn’t make sense to play him at the 4 unless he absolutely has to since we will already have either an undersized (Brand) or poor rebounding (Kaman) center to begin with. I recognize that there aren’t a plethora of alternates but playing Wright at PF or Sarge at C would allow Marion to shift back over. While Wright is far from a good rebounder, he at least would bring size and scoring to the table. And what Sarge could bring is obvious and I will get more into that later. Since Dirk has returned, the rebounding disparity has certainly gotten better. Dirk is not a great individual rebounder but he is another big body who boxes out well and his minutes allow Marion to play his proper position more frequently. With Dirk playing now, there really shouldn’t be a need to see Marion at the 4 hardly any.

  4. Crowder’s minutes need to be kept in check. Don’t get me wrong – I really like this rookie and obviously so does Carlisle which says a lot about Jae. But he shot 26.3% from the floor in December including 18.9% from 3 and so far in January he’s shooting 28.6%. I love his hustle, his passing, and his quick hands on defense and I definitely think that he is going to be a good role player for us down the line. But we need to find some lineups where he doesn’t have to play 20 minutes a game for us. Also RC might want to turn that 3 pt green light to yellow.

  5. Sarge has got to see the court at least in some matchups. This goes hand in hand with the small-ball lineup argument in terms of rebounding but more than that Sarge has shown in games that he deserves more of a look. Yes, again we do not have the benefit of seeing what all happens in practice but from just the limited glimpses we’ve seen of him in games, he should get a shot at some minutes. The statistics certainly back this up as he is far and away the best rebounder and shot blocker on the roster – two aspects that the Mavericks have been searching for. He has seen all of 1 minute of action in the last 9 games despite the Mavs playing 6 of those against classic large lineups. Obviously RC would need to pick his spots to use James but the fact that he hasn’t even dressed for a number of games especially given the rebounding and defensive issues is a travesty.

With all this in mind, I would propose a minute distribution like below:

Position

Name

Minutes

C/PF

Brand

26

PF

Dirk

33

SF/PF

Marion

30

SG

Mayo

35

PG

Collison

34

C

Kaman

26

SG/SF

Carter

25

PG

James

14

SF

Crowder

9

C

Sarge

8

SG/SF

Jones

0

PG/SG

Roddy

0

PF

Wright

0

PG

Dojo

0

PG/SG

Cunningham

0


Given the positional minute limitations (48), here are the implications with the above suggestion:

  1. Collison and James don’t play together at all and take up all the PG minutes. I hate the idea of putting down automatic minutes for a guy that hasn’t play any serious NBA basketball in over 3 years and even then it was for the Washington Wizards. But the alternatives are so crappy that I think it’s a safe bet that James gets a shot at losing the job.
  2. Carter splits his minutes between SG and SF.
  3. Marion plays PF for only 3 minutes.
  4. Brand plays PF for 12 with at least 4 of those when Kaman is the C.
  5. Dirk has to play with Kaman at C for at least 11 minutes.
  6. Sarge and Kaman both only play C so they don’t play together at all.

While I am sure that this is well short of a championship rotation, I gotta think that it can’t be worse than what we’re throwing out there right now. What do yall think?

Reader Submitted

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