Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.
Translation: The best answer is typically the simplest answer.
Copying a winning formula
Let’s not reinvent the wheel, here.
The Dallas Mavericks roster may not be a lot of things, but thanks to the signings of Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes, it does do a neat imitation of last year’s Golden State Warriors team that ended the season 73-9.
Am I assuming that the Mavericks can win 73 games this season? Of course not. However, I do think there might be a better starting lineup than what has gotten them to a 2-5 record, and I think looking at last year’s Warriors provides a good blueprint.
Let’s go position by position....
PG Stephen Curry: J.J. Barea
An undersized scoring machine (when his jumper is working) who can get by his man? Not only is Barea the closest thing to Steph Curry on this roster, he’s sorely needed on the floor for the Mavs.
SG Klay Thompson: Wesley Matthews
Here’s where I will, again, point out that I don’t think these players on the Mavericks are as good as the players on the Warriors. Wes is not Klay. However, we’re fitting pieces of the puzzle into place and creating something that resembles a winning team.
Wes needs to fix his jumper, which is rusty at the moment, but he’s the closest thing to a two-way wing player on this roster...which is to say he’s the closest player to Klay Thompson on this roster.
SF Draymond Green: Dorian Finney-Smith
This is probably the trickiest spot in the lineup. In Green, the Warriors have a player who can play both inside and outside on both ends of the floor. They’re smart about it, though, and their overabundance of offensive talent means that Draymond never has to really do anything on the offensive end besides hit an open 3-pointer or grab an offensive rebound.
Dorian Finney-Smith has the smallest of sample sizes, but in college he was a 3-and-D guy who got rebounds and could guard big men in the post because of his 6’11” wingspan. He’s not quite the 3-point shooter that Green is, but he’s also not far off.
PF Harrison Barnes: Harrison Barnes
C Andrew Bogut: Andrew Bogut
Backup guard Shaun Livingston: Deron Williams
One of the ways the Warriors were able to play the match-ups to their advantage last season was mixing up their guards, which was a lot easier because Livingston could play either spot. Allowing D-Will to fill in for either Barea or Matthews would create a similar situation, and would also reduce some wear-and-tear on Williams’ body.
Backup wing Andre Igoudala: Justin Anderson
This one was almost too easy. Justin Anderson as the athletic, energetic, defensive-minded wing who can probably defend three positions, run the floor, and maybe hit an open 3-pointer? Done and done.
Backup big - offense (Marreese Speights / Anderson Varejao): Dirk Nowitzki
It’s not exactly like the 2015 Warriors. That team struggled to settle on a big man off the bench that could consistently give them points and rebounds.
Not only would the Mavs not have that problem, they would potentially have their best scorer coming in to go against other team’s backups. That’s a recipe for success, assuming Barnes and Bogut continue to hold their own in the starting lineup. The reduced wear-and-tear on Dirk’s body would be an added benefit.
Backup big - defense (Festus Ezeli): Salah Mejri
PG J.J. Barea
SG Wesley Matthews
SF Dorian Finney-Smith
PF Harrison Barnes
C Andrew Bogut
It’s worth noting here that part of this plan would include looking at plays that worked successfully for the Warriors last year and incorporating them as part of the plan.
G Deron Williams
G/F Justin Anderson
F Dirk Nowitzki
C Salah Mejri
Is any of this idea within the realm of possibility? Probably not. Although it is worth checking out the team’s two most successful four man combinations on the floor so far this season:
So, I’ll leave you with a request for feedback.
Should the Mavericks, with Barnes and Bogut and some imitation versions of Curry, Thompson and Draymond, attempt to copy what worked best for the 2015 Golden State Warriors?
Do you have any reason to believe the rotations I laid out above would be any worse than what we’ve seen thus far this season?