Our staff email at Mavs Moneyball sometimes (often) deviates from work talk into Whataburger rankings, general life discussion and -- yes -- some random Mavericks basketball talk. On Friday, the conversation shifted to the crazy idea of moving Dirk to sixth man.
This is not an article advocating it, but just a discussion of the situation. I'm going to bold this and put it in all caps just in case: NO, DIRK WILL NOT COME OFF THE BENCH THIS SEASON. It's just an idea we played around with to see where it'd take us. I found it to be an enjoyable discussion and thought I'd share an edited transcript of the chat.
Jonathan: I've been kind of toying with the idea myself. Start Tyson - Aminu - Parsons and use Dirk as the sixth man.
Tim: You've still gotta close games with him. I think a back court change this offseason is more plausible than Dirk at sixth man.
Kirk: I like the idea. Do you have to close games with him? Why?
Bailey: Because he's Dirk f--king Nowitzki, the greatest closer of all time
Kirk: But if you are, you know, ahead, you don't always need a closer.
Tim: It's true that he's only in four of the Mavs' top nine lineups since the Rondo trade (five man, minimum 20 minutes, by net rating).
Bailey: Man that Dirk guy is certainly no Aminu.
The only problem with writing a Dirk as sixth man post is that I can't in good conscience argue he should be sixth man right now. Gotta fix the backcourt problem first.
Josh: There's already a quote out there that he'd willingly be a sixth man if the Mavs signed Aldridge/Love.
Tim: "Aminu" starts with the same letter as "Aldridge" so...
Andrew: Would think taking Dirk out of the starting lineup creates more spacing issues unless you're also having Monta or Rondo come off the bench as well.
Bailey: Right Andrew that's my point. Replacing Dirk with a better rebounder only makes sense if you've got a shooter in the backcourt to help maintain the spacing.
Tim: *peeks head around corner*
NOT IF YOU START CHARLIE V
Austin: This thread has turned a dark corner.
Tim: (bring back troy murphy)
Bailey: Tim stop being so mean
Andrew: Starting Rondo and Jefferson with Aminu, Parsons and Chandler might make sense. Has that lineup even seen the floor yet?
Bailey: I would like to see that lineup.
Andrew: The thing is, we probably wouldn't be talking so much about how to fix spacing issues in the starting lineup if Dirk and Monta weren't playing so poorly regardless. And that's not really related to Rondo either.
Bailey: I disagree. I think a least part of the problem with Dirk and Monta is that they just aren't as open as they used to be, because people aren't scared of Rondo.
Andrew: That's fine. I just think that based on the way they've played with or without Rondo, it's silly that everyone is essentially blaming the team's problems on him. I'm not caping for Rondo, just saying those issues exist independently of him.
Austin: Starting lineup with Rondo: 103 offensive rating, 102 defensive rating.
Starting lineup with Jameer: 116 offensive rating, 103 defensive rating.
Josh: Wait, wasn't the defense much worse? Like close to 110? Wtf.
Austin: This is strictly just the starting lineup. I think it was 110 for the entire team.
Andrew: Right, but it's not as if Monta suddenly becomes more effective when you take Rondo off the floor. He's struggled recently because of injuries or whatever reason.
Bailey: Andrew, I'm not sure anyone is blaming all the team's problems on Rondo. I harp on Rondo more than anything else because I think Rondo is the most obvious and frustrating problem. But it doesn't mean I don't think there aren't other problems that have nothing to do with him.
That's what frustrates me is that people seem to think that criticizing Rondo means we think Rondo AND ONLY RONDO is the problem. It simply isn't true.
Andrew: Sure, I think this is understood. But when all anyone talks about is "Rondo problems" and how to fix them...
Bailey: Yeah I don't get what Monta's issue is. He claims it isn't the hip, but what else could it be?
Austin: Monta isn't being honest. He's a really proud guy. He's never going to admit when he's hurt.
There you have it. In conclusion, no, Dirk as a sixth man would not help the Mavericks whatsoever this season. It could potentially plug one hole but would only open another.