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Roundtable: What should change?

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Assuming the Mavericks come back, of course.

Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Assuming this season actually starts again, what’s one change you’d like to see the Mavericks make?

Jordan: According to nba.com Rick Carlisle has played the lineup of: Doncic, Curry, Hardaway Jr, Kleber and Porzingis just 50 minutes this season, the ninth most used lineup. And yet its Net Rating (+19.7) is fourth best among lineups that have played at least 30 minutes together.

Take out Kleber and insert Dorian Finney-Smith? 122 minutes, the second most deployed lineup for the Mavericks. The difference in minutes between the two lineups is sizable, but it’s worth noting this second lineup has a Net Rating of +11.7 (eighth best among lineups with 30+ minutes).

It turns out that taking the core starters — Doncic, Hardaway, and Porzingis — and adding Curry and Kleber is the better defensive lineup of the two groups. It’s surprising that DFS instead of Kleber is the better offensive team, but that Kleber group has been great defensively in their 50 minutes.

What I’m saying is I think the Kleber unit is the most well-rounded, and deserves to have played more than 50 minutes together this late in the season.

Kevin: I think this might be too simple of an answer for this question, but the change I’d really like to see is just a shortening of the rotation. Assuming that the league gives teams enough time to get back into the swing of things, I’d love to see a significant ramping up of minutes by the top players.

Luka is averaging 33 minutes per game and has only hit 40 in three of his 54 games played. Porzingis is averaging 31 minutes per game and only reached 40+ in the OT game against the Pelicans that was somehow played earlier this month. Tim and Seth are averaging 29 and 25 minutes per game, respectively. It’s time to crank this shit up.

Matt: What’s that? I’m sorry, son, you’re going to have to speak up, my hearing isn’t what it used to be. Basketwhat? Oh! Basketball! Ahh, I remember basketball. How we used to have so much joy just sitting, watching basketball. Being mad at basketball, but happy at basketball as well. Those days seem so long ago, now.

I suppose if they ever decided to bring it back — which, just my opinion here, I think they should — the only thing that would make it better would be if the Mavericks would make free throws. Especially in the fourth quarter. Call me old fashioned, but I remember when the Mavericks were elite free throw shooters - a top-5 FT% team in the league from 2006 to 2011. Sure, it helps that the guy taking a great deal of those free throws was a Hasslehoff-humming legend who shot damn near 90% from the line for his career, but I’d be fine with just a league average showing at this point.

The Mavericks are decidedly mediocre from the line this season. 15th in the league, and shooting just 1% better than the league average of 76.3%. However, in the 4th quarter, Dallas’ free throw shooting drops to 74.7%, 22nd in the league. Even the most optimistic Mavericks backer would have trouble defending Dallas’ crunch time offense this season. Bad offensive execution and declining FT% do not spell first-round upset for a team who have put together a troublingly poor record in so-called “crunch time games.”

They can’t participate in any team activities, but hopefully they’ve at least been working on their free throws.

Kirk: This is entirely outside of their control but perhaps they Mavericks could get injured less? The numbers Jordan talks about earlier in this post are absurd.

Yeah, that’s all I got. I’ve been at home with a four year old for 19 days. I am sane! I am safe! I am healthy. I can’t think though. Apologies.

Sam: The one thing I want to see differently when the season resumes is for Luka Doncic to make more three pointers. That might be wishful thinking as it’s highly unlikely Doncic sees an uptick in his three-point percentage. Though, rest and a chance to heal his achy body might do him so good, and the question didn’t put limitations on my answers. So that’s what I want - Luka Doncic to be a better three point shooter.

But there’s more to it than just being better, obviously. It starts with shot selection. Too many times Doncic settles for step-back triples even when the defense doesn’t dictate a difficult shot. Whether he’s frustrated with lack of calls or defenses honing in on his dribble penetration, he’s hoisting entirely too many threes. For the 26 players that shoot seven or more triples (and have played more than seven games this season) Doncic ranks dead last in shooting percentage. Doncic becoming an average shooter would catapult him into top-5 player in the league territory, so let’s start when play resumes, shall we?