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SBN Reacts: The center of things for the Dallas Mavericks

Who should get the start?

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Dallas Mavericks fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate.

With the Dallas Mavericks off to a somewhat lackluster start (3-3 at the time of this poll), it felt worth asking a key question that keeps coming up: who do you think should START at center for the Mavericks?

The comes out of the key off-season signing of JaVale McGee, who was reportedly promised a starting role this year as a part of his joining the Mavericks. Through six games, he’s started five (getting a rest day against the Thunder despite having only played 51 minutes at that point), and has a limited impact for a player who’s historically been pretty solid on a per minute basis. The defense is a work in progress with McGee at the end of the funnel and some fans (and editors of this website) are ready for a change.

One option is old stalwart Dwight Powell. He’s a man many of us have tried to trade for years but he’s still with Dallas. He’s had limited minutes so far this year but he’s brought what he’s always brought to the floor: energy and making the correct play. Powell is limited in terms of size, weight, and skill to a degree, but when paired with Luka Doncic, he’s capable of expanding a lethal offense. Defensively, we’ve seen it. He’s not a great or even good rebounder, and he doesn’t have the length to be a rim protector. But he’s good on switches on the perimeter and, just like on offense, he plays hard and effort matters.

A different choice could be Christian Wood, the journeyman with the skills of a superstar. Defensively, he’s never shown the chops to anchor a defense. Offensively, he’s shown a real connection with Luka Doncic and perhaps a show of overwhelming offensive force is what could propel the Mavericks to better starts. That seems unlikely given head coach Jason Kidd’s desire for a defense first mentality. Wood does have superior length and in theory could use that length for defensive purposes. But how he goes about getting the repetition and minutes to show and develop that might come at the expense of Dallas wins, which is why we’re having this whole discussion to begin with.

Last on the poll is Maxi Kleber. If Kleber were a man capable of withstanding a bigger minutes load, this might not be an option. But the Mavericks want Kleber more as a defensive finisher in the fourth than a stalwart to anchor games from the start. He’s got great skills and versatility to make all this work, but asking him to both start and finish games is likely too much. Given Kidd’s other options above, Kleber at the five to begin games would only get done as a last resort.

So go vote! We’ll talk about the results on Thursday.