The Dallas Mavericks have found themselves in a number of ruts over the last month, and for much of this season for that matter. As a team they have not been able to carry a rhythm from one game to the next, likely due to a combination of stagnant play and injury.
Just three players have appeared in all 25 games. Of those three, one plays center: Dwight Powell. Of the rest of the bigs on the roster Willie Cauley-Stein has missed seven games, Kristaps Porzingis missed seven, Maxi Kleber missed nine, and Boban Marjanovic has not played in 12 games.
Enter the Mavericks’ sixth center. If you were to check the Alignment System chart for Moses Brown you’d find him directly under Chaotic Good. And it is not just the injury trouble that should gain Brown more opportunity on the floor. He could be a catalyst for breaking the Mavericks out of their slump.
“Moses prepares as if he’s going to play”, head coach Jason Kidd remarked after Wednesday night’s 104-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “He comes early to the arena on gamedays and prepares as if he’s going to play, knowing that he probably is not going to play.”
It is that mindset that allowed Brown to play the way he did against the Grizzlies, notching nine points, seven rebounds, two blocks and one steal. He echoed Kidd’s comments after the game.
“Staying ready, and just having that sense of urgency. Just knowing that when you get on the court you have a job to complete, [and] everything that comes from it is you and your effort.”
When Brown plays he does so with abandon, bounding down the floor, sweeping his helicopter wingspan toward any loose ball or errant pass. In his twelve minutes against the Grizzlies it meant disrupting the offensive glass and causing a handful of tie-ups or loose ball fouls. He made them count by going 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Being chaotic good does come with the chaos, to be sure. He often gets lost in pick-and-roll coverage, he’s not always sure with the ball when Luka Doncic or others look for him in the post, he’d likely find himself in foul trouble with more minutes.
But what you can’t coach out of many players — even one or two others on this very roster — is effort. No matter the minutes he’s been given, it is a guarantee that he will bust it for that time. And it’s clear that other players, Doncic in particular, take notice.
If the Mavericks were clicking on all cylinders, there would be plenty of reason to not give Brown meaningful minutes. But we aren’t there. Even after what felt like a bounce-back win against the Grizzlies, the Mavericks turned back around with a lifeless performance against the Indiana Pacers (Brown played nine minutes). This team needs someone to wake them from their slumber, and maybe the energy and chaos Brown brings — if only for 10 or 12 minutes per night — is the perfect alarm clock.