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Which of these Mavericks plays first: Barea, Boban or Broekhoff?

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We’ve had approximately 8,375 lineups, so what’s a few more?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks are four games into the season, their record is 3-1, and everyone is having a great time! The Dallas bench has had big moments; perhaps none bigger than the performance against Denver in which nine of the ten players who entered the game for Dallas scored in double digits, all between ten and fourteen points.

The rotation, while starting to look a little more set, is still extremely fluid. If the lineup were a cake in the oven, and you pulled the lineup out after 20 minutes at 350°F and gave it a little shake, you would see the lineup wobble a fair bit at the center and you would think, “oh, that lineup is definitely not set quite yet,” and put it back in the oven.

With such aforementioned rotational fluidity, which has become infamous for its ever-changing starting five, it’s notable that we still haven’t seen some players get any run, namely: fan-favorite J.J. “The LeBron Stopper” Barea, literally the Mavericks biggest offseason signing Boban Marjanovic, and everyone’s favorite sharpshooting accountant Ryan Broekhoff.

So which of those players will we end seeing on the floor the soonest for Dallas?

J.J. Barea

Why we’ll see him soon

I think if Rick doesn’t put J.J. in a game soon he might actually explode. Barea was the “Carlisle Guy” before we knew what a Carlisle Guy was. A clever player (ideally a small guard) who can be counted on to manage the game, make the right plays, and generally not screw anything up. And Rick loves those guys.

Before the season started, many were concerned that by having Barea back with the team and apparently healthy enough to play in some preseason games, we would be seeing less of Jalen “new Barea” Brunson. So far, that hasn’t been the case, and Jalen has continued to impress in his sophomore season, but it’s only a matter of time before some of these young guys commit just one too many turnovers or boneheaded plays. When that time comes, you can count on Rick looking to the bench and calling on his bench general to settle things down.

Why we won’t

Seth Curry. Jalen Brunson. Delon Wright. Heck, even two-time starter Courtney Lee. These guys have all gotten some run as guards off the bench. It just wouldn’t be a Dallas Mavericks team if there wasn’t a log jam at the guard spot.

Never mind the fact that J.J. is an officially 5’10”, 35-year-old point guard coming off an Achilles injury suffered less than a year ago. By all accounts, it’s amazing he was even healthy enough to get some preseason time. Still, at this point in his career, Barea might be more of a veteran presence and emergency backup guard, only to be called upon if there’s nobody else available.

Boban Marjanovic

Why we’ll see him soon

Boban is a massive human, and in the game of basketball, you just can’t teach that skillset. He’s an advanced stats hero who ranks as the most efficient scorer in NBA history, and even if he can’t only play a few minutes at a time, there’s no arguing that being able to reach up and place the ball through the net while standing flat-footed on the court is a pretty decent play to be able to call. And he shoots threes now! AND HE WAS IN JOHN WICK! What possible reason could there be to keep him off the court?

By all accounts, Boban is a charming human who everyone loves and who clearly has a place in the NBA, even if it’s very specific and to be used in moderation. It’s not out of the question that we may even see him against the Lakers on Friday to matchup against Dwight Howard, who has no jump shot to speak of. That plays into Boban’s strengths, and would allow him to stay mainly around the basket on defense, and go do his thing on offense.

Why we won’t

Look, you can’t just ask a 7’3.5” human being to be able to defend out to the arc, which is how many teams are playing these days. There’s a reason Kristaps Porzingis was deemed to be a “unicorn.” Typically, there’s an inverse relationship between size and agility, and Boban is the rule, not the exception.

His playing time has been and will continue to be highly matchup dependent. There seemingly could’ve been a chance to see him in spot duty against a team like Denver. Jokic, while he does have an outside shot, decidedly does not base his game on highly tuned athleticism. Alas, another game passed with no Boban. Rest assured, when Rick does find a matchup worthy of Boban’s unique skillset, he will once again shine as an enormous beacon that — not just Mavs fans, but all NBA fans — can look at and say “wow, did he just dunk the ball without leaving the floor? That’s wild.”

Ryan Broekhoff

Why we’ll see him soon

The NBA is a shooter’s league. Broekhoff is a shooter. That’s what he does. He has a fun Australian accent, he looks like he works in the front office, and he nails jumpers. In preseason action, Broekhoff shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc, which is nothing to sneeze at. Seth Curry isn’t the only one who’s allowed to be good at threes on this team. Actually, and I’m no NBA coach, but I think it would be good to have many good shooters.

The Dallas bench, impressive as it has been at times, is no doubt streaky on an individual player basis. While Justin Jackson and Tim Hardaway Jr. will likely remain above Broekhoff on the depth chart this year, if they’re off and Dallas needs someone to change things up and just get out there and make a shot to try and spark something offensively, Broekhoff could be that guy.

Why we won’t

Doesn’t he just look so handsome in his suit? He did, like, a fun cool little hand thing, like a one-person wave? A happy boy having a good time with his friends. You love to see it. Why even bother having him play basketball? Just let him do some post game interviews, make sure the books are looking good (gotta keep that sell out streak alive), and be a dark horse in after-practice half court shot contests.