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Mavs Moneyball Mailbag: Is Wood really starting on the bench?

Answering reader questions submitted through Twitter

Syndication: The Tennessean Jack Corn / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

In honor of the season beginning we will be answering some questions submitted through Twitter. There will be a mailbag the first Monday of every month this season so if you have questions you would like answered, either post them in the comments of the previous mailbag post or through the posts we will make on Twitter.

Who is your favorite of the potential Jrue Holiday-type trade candidates once that option opens up for the Mavericks?-Ryan

This is an interesting question because the Dallas Mavericks have been unable to do something like this for a while. Many fans have complained that the Mavericks have done nothing during the Luka Doncic era but that could not be further from the truth. The Mavericks hands have been tied specifically because they did things. The Mavericks had to give up a total of three extra first round picks to acquire Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

Those trades coupled with the Stepien rule which prevents a team from trading consecutive first round picks have hamstrung the Mavericks since Doncic’s arrival. The Jrue Holiday trade you mentioned involved the Milwaukee Bucks giving up two unprotected first round picks and two pick swaps.

The Mavericks still owe a first to the New York Knicks this offseason but they will be free of any future obligations following that. Bam Adebayo would be my choice above any player not from Greece but that is simply a pipe dream. The immediate target that comes to mind is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The Oklahoma City Thunder value draft picks more than any team since the “Process” Philadelphia 76ers.

Gilgeous-Alexander has the size the Mavericks prefer in Doncic’s back court partners but far more ability than anyone else the Mavericks have employed. Gilgeous-Alexander’s defense has slid considerably the last couple of seasons but he is still gifted on that end. If the Mavericks can get him for two or three picks and two swaps they should do so.

Which is more likely to happen: Josh Green consistently hitting from 3 or Jaden Hardy getting quality rotation minutes?-Stephen

Josh Green consistently hitting from three by a mile. The only true path to minutes for Hardy would be as the third ball handler and that is a role he has never filled at any level. He is a scorer. The Mavericks picking him is a huge positive as it shows at least some interest in the draft that has been absent for years, but he is an incredibly long way from playing rotation minutes. The biggest positive for Hardy is that Jason Kidd has consistently played and developed young players, especially guards.

Green still shoots at low volume but it is important to remember how limited his minutes have been. There should be extra minutes for him this year and hopefully those minutes will lead to more consistent shooting. He already improved his three point percentage from 16 percent as a rookie to 35.9 percent as a sophomore. He improved even further to 41 percent after the all star break last season.

Do you think we’ll actually start McGee over Wood? All of the noise seems to indicate that, but Wood’s talent and fit with Luka make me hope otherwise.- Luke

Yes. The frustration is understandable as Wood is likely the most important barometer of success this season. The Mavericks really enjoy starting an elite rim runner with Doncic. This is why Dwight Powell has started the last couple of seasons despite Maxi Kleber being a better player. McGee provides the same rim running ability as Powell, while also providing elite or nearly elite rim protection and rebounding. The Mavericks have upgraded the center rotation greatly.

Wood is going to get plenty of time to shine and he very well may end up starting by the time the playoffs get here. For the Mavericks to reach the level of success they hope to this season, Wood will likely need to be the team’s second best player. It is tempting to think that bringing him off the bench sabotages that but remember that Jason Terry came off the bench while playing with Dirk Nowitzki but he was always on the court in winning time and ran a ton of pick and rolls with Nowitzki. Wood’s usage should mirror Terry’s but with the roles reversed.

Hit us up with more questions in the comments. Basketball is back soon!