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7 lineups from last year the Mavericks need to replace

The Mavericks had their own, not-as-good version of the Death Lineup. But it wasn’t just that.

NBA: Preseason-Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks
Any lineup with Dirk is a good one.
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Death cannot be monopolized. All NBA teams, including the Mavericks, have a version of the Warriors' Death lineup, only with less death. Any lineup optimized for specific stat maximization, even ridiculous ones, can reach Capital Letter status. Let’s sift through some lineup data and introduce the Kobe Assist, the Famine and the Snapchat.

Some of these lineups have been broken up this summer so we will also SWAG (scientific wild ass guess) their replacements for the upcoming season.

Note: All stats courtesy of Lineup stats filtered to 5+ games appeared and 40+ minutes played total to eliminate random / sporadic lineups*.

* Lineup stats are projected stats for a 48 minute game, which is not a fair extrapolation because it doesn’t account for fouls, fatigue and reality but you can imagine.


Let’s get the trendy Death lineup out of the way. The Mavs’ Death lineup was a small one that featured Dirk at center. With two of the five gone and with the addition of Andrew Bogut, the new Mavs Death lineup may be a bigger lineup. Also, what is the K-Death (Death-ratula?) lineup going to do this year? Trading Harry B in for KD was Beyonce signing Rihanna to replace the weakest member of Destiny’s Child. Good game, everyone.

The Mavs’ Death Lineup: Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews, Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams at +31.3 plus-minus per 48m.

The NBA’s Death Lineup: Surprise! It wasn’t the Warriors, but the Cleveland Cavaliers: Matthew Dellavedova, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Mo Williams at +57.3 plus-minus per 48m.

New Mavs’ Death Lineup: Bogut, Matthews, Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Williams


Introducing the Jello lineup (or the anti-Death). These five are your 800-count long-staple cotton in sateen weave sheet lineup. These five are cereal after it’s been left in milk and untouched for a very long time, like five minutes. iPhone 7? No, this is Jello-soft. The Mavs did good to drop three of the five guys here.

The Mavs’ Jello Lineup: Felton, Matthews, Zaza Pachulia, Charlie Villanueva, Williams at -19.5 plus-minus per 48m.

The NBA’s Jello Lineup: Sacramento Kings: Marco Belinelli, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo at -37.5 plus-minus per 48m.

New Mavs’ Jello Lineup: Barea, Matthews, Bogut, Quincy Acy, Williams.


One of the other Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, this is your Avery Johnson basketball lineup - you marvel at screen callouts, corner three closeouts and seamless pick-and-roll switches. This stanza’s for you, defensive nerd.

Glory to the buzzer beater
Sportscenter highlights, new Gatorade deal
Forgotten is the man with the final cover
They fought the shooter with just as much will

My dudes.

The Mavs’ Famine Lineup: J.J. Barea, Matthews, Nowitzki, Pachulia, Williams at 89.6 points allowed per 48m.

The NBA’s Famine Lineup: Cavaliers: Dellavedova, James, Love, Thompson, Williams at 64.5 points allowed per 48m.

New Mavs’ Famine Lineup: Devin Harris, Justin Anderson, Matthews, Bogut, Barnes


Hey, does it smell like three guard lineup around here or is it just me? This stat stuffing lineup is the opposite of the Famine.

The Mavs’ Feast Lineup: Barea, Felton, Harris, Lee, Nowitzki at 127 points allowed per 48m.

The NBA’s Feast Lineup: Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson, Dion Waiters, Russell Westbrook at 139.4 points allowed per 48m.

New Mavs’ Feast Lineup: Barea, Curry, Harris, Quincy Acy, Nowitzki


Haha. Classic. Is there a stat for kicking your face? These are your old-school first-to-85-points-wins brawlers, the descendants from the mid-90s JVG-Pat Riley battles. They warm up with elbow swings and it’s possible TS% means Tough S***% to them. Watch out for the moving screen and double up on the acetaminophen.

The Mavs’ Bruce Bowen Lineup: Felton, Lee, Matthews, Parsons, Williams at 29.8 fouls committed per 48m.

The NBA’s Bruce Bowen Lineup: Celtics’ Bradley, Crowder, Johnson, Smart, Thomas at 45.8 fouls committed per 48m.

New Mavs’ Bruce Bowen Lineup: Harris, Matthews, Mejri, Acy, Williams.


There is something about a high-turnover player. They have embraced their inner capitalistic desires and wear it thoroughly. I respect the authenticity. It’s not efficient but it’s why we will forgive a player for pass interference but not for jumping offsides.

I personally get excited when a player has a quadruple double and one of the 10’s is turnovers. Also, the bad turnover is the ultimate comedy highlight (and the most overrated is the big man airball free throw).

The Mavs’ Wasteful Lineup: Barea, Felton, Devin Harris, Lee, Nowitzki at 17.3 turnovers per 48m.

The NBA’s Wasteful Lineup: 76ers: Jerami Grant, TJ McConnell, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas at 23.4 turnovers per 48m.

New Mavs’ Wasteful Lineup: Barea, Harris, Nowitzki, Williams, Barnes.


Your job is to just go get the ball.

The Mavs’ Kobe Assist Lineup: Barea, Matthews, Nowitzki, Pachulia, Williams at 49 total rebounds per 48m.

The NBA’s Kobe Assist Lineup: Kings’ Omri Casspi, Gay, Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore, Rondo at 64.9 total rebounds per 48m.

New Mavs’ Kobe Assist Lineup: Curry, Matthews, Acy, Bogut, Williams.


Pace and space. Three is bigger than two. Whatever your catchy phrase or catchy math formula — long range is the cakes. It’s a rainbow cronut. It’s shredded skinny denim jeans. It’s Kim Kardashian defending her husband Kanye West’s honor against Taylor Swift in a Snapchat video. We got here from the Beatles, Hendrix and Tupac together.

This is the modern NBA, where Steph Curry broke his own 3PM NBA record one year after re-setting it by 41 percent. In my beautiful twisted dark basketball fantasies, I see 5,000 kids across America doing Steph Curry’s half-court shot warmups everyday. In 2021, one with super handles will hit a growth spurt and then eventually come to break basketball.

The Mavs’ Snapchat Lineup: Felton, Matthews, Nowitzki, Parsons, Williams at 18.8 threes made per 48m.

The NBA Snapchat Lineup: Warriors’ Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala) at 21.5 threes made per 48m.

New Mavs Snapchat Lineup: Curry, Matthews, Nowitzki, Barnes, Williams.

Edit: The original article mistakenly commented that Chandler Parsons wasn’t part of the Mavs’ Death lineup when he was listed as part of it.