The Clippers it is
Unfortunately, the worst outcome for the Mavs in the bubble has come to life, as they draw the Clippers in round one.
The pedigree Los Angeles’ roster brings to the table is unmatched by anyone else in the bubble. Two elite two-way wings in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are the headliners, but they are surrounded by a deep, talented roster. Players like the pesky Patrick Beverley, 6th Man of the Year candidates Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris, and others.
Quite frankly, the goal coming into the bubble should have been to avoid this team at all costs. But for a variety of reasons, the team failed to get that done and now they face their greatest challenge.
All is not lost, obviously. The Mavericks are still postseason bound for the first time in three seasons, which was a goal before the year. And we’ll get our first chance to see Playoff Luka and KP, which should be a blast.
So, there is no real point in dwelling on the mistakes that brought them here. It’s time to embrace the moment and give it their best shot.
MKG needs Justin Jackson’s spot in the rotation
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been scarcely used since arriving in Dallas. We all know about the Mavericks affinity for shooters and MKG’s wonky stroke, so it’s no surprise really.
However, his play recently points to the fact that he deserves more time. Especially with the Clippers all-star wing tandem looming.
I might sound crazy considering MKG’s overall lack of playing time this year. He’s been no more than a spare. But consider the alternative: Would you rather throw a struggling Justin Jackson out there for critical minutes?
Sure, Jackson has a better reputation offensively than MKG, but it really isn’t that significant (29% from three for Jackson vs. 27% for Kidd-Gilchrist). Couple that with the fact MKG is the only Mavericks with the physical traits and defensive ability to match either Leonard or George.
How much should he play? Who should he play with? All of those are questions I don’t have answers to that, but I do know that he needs to see some time if the Mavs hope to slow down the Clippers star duo.
The Mavericks will be better because of this matchup
Most fans were hoping for Denver instead of Los Angeles in the first round. And understandably so.
Denver is very good and very deep, but the firepower on the Clippers squad is scary, on both ends.
It makes it a lot more unlikely the Mavs advance, there is no way around that really. But what it will also do, is expose the Mavericks to the highest levels of playoff basketball in year one. Something their young duo can draw on and benefit from in future years.
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