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The Decision: Mavericks Rotation

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Just because we've probably hit dead time in the NBA, that doesn't mean things are going to be quiet here at Mavs Moneyball!  There are still plenty of Mavs-related stories to discuss and we're going to do our best to bring them to the masses.  One of the big debates that can carry on through the off-season is what route should the Mavericks take with their main rotation.

Taking a look at the currently constructed roster, there are 13 Mavericks on the roster out of a possible 15. 

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Roddy Beaubois

Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, Jason Terry

Shawn Marion, JJ Barea, Tyson Chandler

DeShawn Stevenson, Dominique Jones, Ian Mahinmi

Alexis Ajinca

The roster has a pretty healthy amount of options at the shooting guard, small forward and center positions.  Depending on who you ask, it could be thin at the point guard and power forward positions.  For the sake of labeling based on my opinion, players will be placed in the position they appear slated to be in and then discuss how the rotation could play out.

Point Guard: Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, Roddy Beaubois

Shooting Guard: Roddy Beaubois, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Dominique Jones

Small Forward: Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson

Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Ian Mahinmi

Center: Brendan Haywood, Tyson Chandler, Ian Mahinmi, Alexis Ajinca

With all that being said, here is what I project the starting line-up to be:

Point Guard: Kidd

Shooting Guard: Beaubois

Small Foward: Butler

Power Forward: Nowitzki

Center: Haywood

Now the questions that emerge from that lineup?

Beaubois as the shooting guard?

Some wonder how a player who was barely on the court over the course of last season can now instantly jump into the starting lineup.  The answer to that is based on the fact that Rick Carlisle didn't properly utilize Beaubois over the course of the season.  Maybe Carlisle was protecting Beaubois or picking his spots to guarantee success but that move ultimately bit him in the end.  Jason Kidd will naturally help improve Beaubois and they play off each other very well.  Beaubois can guard the quicker guards while Kidd can work on the more physical players.  Both players will bring contributions in terms of perimeter scoring and Beaubois can bring a slashing presence the Mavericks have lacked for quite some time. 

Caron versus Marion - who is the better fit?

The consensus seems to suggest that Marion will be moving to the bench.  The shooting guard experiment for Caron Butler had it's pros and cons, it appears the Mavericks want to move him back to his natural small forward position.  Butler has commented over the summer that he's working hard and losing weight to work on his quickness.  We will see once the season starts if that's the case or not. 

Bench productivity?

If you're bench consists of Terry, Barea, Marion, Chandler, Stevenson, Jones and Mihinmi then the question of where does the offense come from becomes a serious concern. 

Who is the backup power forward?

The Mavericks still have their full Mid-Level Exception to try to solve that issue, they also have trade exceptions at their disposal to try to fill the hole.  Ian Mahinmi is a project but his versatility and rebounding skills might be able to give him a shot at taking the position.

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There is one change that could be made and it definitely creates a different dynamic.  That move would be to swap out Butler and put Marion in.  Kidd, Beaubois, Marion, Nowitzki and Haywood.

Based on the questions from above, here is how it is altered:

Caron versus Marion - who is the better fit?

With a backcourt of Kidd and Beaubois you have versatility and scoring available in different forms and Marion would bring an added defensive anchor to go along with Haywood.  I believe there is enough perimeter scoring with that unit to where Marion holds value with additional defense.  You don't need to run set plays for Marion to be effective scoring the ball as well.  Shawn can still run the floor and bring hustle points with rebounds.  To extend off the rebounding point, Kidd and Beaubois would be a smaller backcourt so the inclusion of Marion and his length would prove to be another positive. 

Bench productivity?

One player can make a difference and I think Butler coming in as the new 6th man could prove beneficial to the bench.  Adding him with bench players mentioned above would bring more scoring stability to the bench.  The starting lineup would bring a nice balance of offense and defense and your second unit would keep the momentum rolling with scoring. 

Who is the backup power forward?

The only change from the previous scenario is now if Marion starts, he still might be able to get spot minutes at the backup power forward spot while Butler gets time at the small forward position. 

 

The debate over what the rotation will look like will remain unsettled until training camp arrives.  That doubt does give us something to talk about though.