Two wins and two losses for the Mavericks this past week. The two wins came in opposite fashion: one dramatic against the Clippers, and one blowout against a shorthanded Nuggets team. The two losses, however, came with the same context: embarrassing losses to that same depleted Denver team and a Houston team fighting for the first pick in the draft.
Team grade: D-
The Mavericks continue to lose games in ways unfathomable to the average mind. Whether it’s to a team without its three best players or the worst team in the league, it’s inexplicable and unacceptable. Preparation and adjustments account for a lot of their woes, and that is all on coaching. They had a bad, bad week, and that is why there are no straight A’s this week.
Failing miserably: Jason Kidd
I have been fairly optimistic about this current roster. It definitely has its flaws, but I do not subscribe to the belief that the team got drastically worse this off-season. The current roster can win a playoff series, and after that, who knows what could happen. However, it is inconsequential to try and muster any hope in this team if Jason Kidd is still the head coach and coaching the way he has.
For starters, the Mavericks are the worst third quarter team in the league. They average the least amount of points and shoot the fifth worst percentage. On multiple occasions, but most recently against the Clippers last Tuesday, the Mavericks have squandered near-insurmountable leads in less than a single quarter. It comes at no surprise that the quarter in question has been the third quarter every time, and these meltdowns are exclusively on coaching. More than any part of the game, the opening to the second half is about adjustments. You are given an extended period to talk over what worked and what didn’t in the first half and when you come out flat, the coach is to blame. To compound the lack of preparation, as quickly as Rick Carlisle would take timeouts, Kidd waits until it is too late, and there is no chance to stop the other team’s momentum.
A bigger issue than their third quarters is Kidd’s rotation. Simply put, it sucks. Tim Hardaway Jr. shot nine times against Denver on Sunday, missed every shot, and played the second most minutes off the bench. Christian Wood, Dallas’ third leading scorer, admitted after Sunday’s loss that he doesn’t even know when his minutes will come:
Christian Wood in postgame locker room said Mavs don't prep him before games about second-half playing time plans: “I have no clue."— Callie Caplan (@CallieCaplan) November 21, 2022
After playing 1:51 in Q4 tonight: "I would love to play more. I’ve voiced that several times, but I just play my role.”
Kidd then doubled down on why Wood was not playing, and cited that the team needed to be “unselfish”:
Jason Kidd addressed Christian Wood’s playing time… pic.twitter.com/T0uk7gCcWq— Landon Thomas (@sixfivelando) November 22, 2022
He also states that minutes are “earned”, and if Wood has not earned minutes then I don’t know what it would take to do so. You have to play your best players, and Kidd’s rotation includes players that are not the best more often than not.
Kidd has a good team, but he is preventing Dallas from seeing the full potential of the current roster. Unless he changes drastically, this team won’t achieve what they want to with Kidd at the helm.
Extra credit: The Western Conference
This Western Conference is as competitive as it has been in recent memory. The Mavericks are lucky, in a way, that the West has so many teams with around the same number of losses they do, or they could be buried deep in the standings. It is still early, but being in 9th place yet only two games out of first is not a bad place to be.