The Mavericks lost the front end of their weekend back-to-back on Friday night when Bradley Beal streaked to the basket with little resistance to quickly put in a game-winning layup with less than a second left. With the team still without Luka Doncic as he inches closer to his return from a sprained ankle, the team would learn (not surprisingly) on Saturday morning that they would be without Kristaps Porzingis for the game against the Hornets on the second end of a back-to-back.
While Charlotte entered Saturday night with a putrid record of 16-35, Dallas was fresh off losing to a 17-32 team in Washington D.C. on Friday night, so nothing could be assumed. Luckily, the absence of their top two leading scorers was no issue for the Mavericks.
Six different Mavericks scored in double figures, led by 26 from Seth Curry, and the squad never looked back from a huge first quarter lead on their way to a 116-100 win in Charlotte on Saturday.
The win was much needed for Dallas after losing back-to-back games where they were the favorites on Wednesday against Memphis and then Friday’s heartbreaker against the Wizards. The Mavericks now sit at 32-21, 18-8 on the road, and will finish Saturday night a half game back of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoff standings.
While the win was certainly a nice end to the day, it was far from top of mind for most Mavs fans throughout Saturday.
Reporting with @espn_macmahon: Charlotte is finalizing a contract buyout with F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Dallas has emerged as a possible destination once MKG clears waivers.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2020
At this point, you’ve read other people’s pieces or tweets about their critiques of MKG’s seemingly broken jump shot, so it’s not necessary to harp on that much more here. It’s a strange and ineffective form that makes him tough to project as anything but a negative on the offensive end. “The Starters” even rated his release as the strangest jump shot in NBA history back in 2016. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Kidd-Gilchrist is a sizable wing defender who could help the Mavericks’ struggling defense as a backup perimeter defender off the bench.
I just have infinite faith in the Mavs ability to help maximize players like MKG. I’ve seen it too many times.
He’ll never be a positive on offense, but they will find a spot for him to minimize damage. But the guy is a really talented defender/rebounder. He can definitely help
— The People’s Blogger (@RKonkle_Mavs) February 8, 2020
While it’s all nice and fun to add a new player to the fold, the Mavericks’ roster is currently full. They will have to waive someone in order to create a roster spot for Kidd-Gilchrist when he clears waivers on Monday. The most logical candidates would be either Courtney Lee or Ryan Broekhoff, with an outside chance of the struggling Justin Jackson being another option.
Coach Rick Carlisle so often goes out of his way to heap praise on the professionalism and positive energy that come from Lee and Broekhoff, but their expiring contracts would be the be the easiest to eat at this stage in the season. Jackson has a team option for about $5 million next season. As of now, I wouldn’t bet on the Mavericks exercising it, but it still makes him have the most remaining money on his deal. Plus at age 24, soon to be 25 on March 28th, one would have to think there is still more time for development for Jackson than for Lee (age 34) or Broekhoff (age 29).
While Carlisle has never spoken negatively of Jackson, he certainly doesn’t make it a point to find a ways to praise him during the media sessions I’ve attended throughout the year. That being said, it’s not like anyone really asks many questions about any of these three.
As evidenced by what we saw by their inactivity at the trade deadline, the Mavericks like the team they have, shortcomings and all. They have had each of their three leading scorers (Doncic, Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.) playing in the same game just eight times since December 14th. They’ve gone 15-13 since then, but it’s been a considerable dip in the winning pace they were on before Doncic’s first ankle sprain against Miami in December. Everyone outside the organization wants them to make a move to improve their roster.
Would a move for Kidd-Gilchrist be an improvement over the minutes going to Jackson? In the “What have you done for me lately” world we live in today, absolutely it would be. It would be tough to break up the good vibes feeling surrounding the team this season, but this team has winning some big games on its mind this spring.
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