After a very eventful summer in the NBA, the season is just around the corner. With the preseason starting next week, it’s time to start dissecting the Mavericks roster and constructing what the starting lineup and rotation should look like. For the most part, the rotation for each position is fairly easy to figure out. But for point guard, not so much.
Luckily for the Mavs, point guard is their deepest position in a conference where every night you’re facing an elite floor general. With that depth comes the debate and indecision on how to allocate the minutes while ensuring a positive morale and winning product on the floor. As the Mavs bring back an already crowded back court, drafting Dennis Smith Jr. with the ninth pick in the NBA Draft just adds to the complexity. The only question that remains is how will Carlisle and company distribute the minutes.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Yes, we are beginning with the rook. As we all expected, it looks as if the rookie will get the chance to start on opening night. Stated at Mavs Media Day, Rick Carlisle expressed his eagerness to see what DSJ can do. “I understand the level of excitement and people should be excited.” The explosive guard from N.C. State showed his ability and readiness to compete at the NBA level during the Summer League. Adding Smith Jr. to the starting lineup, Carlisle voiced his desire to up the tempo on offense. Having an explosive guy like DSJ in the lineup will add a threat that Dallas just hasn’t had at the point guard position. His ability to get to the basket and his continued success in the pick-and-roll will help lead this Mavs team this season and in the future. Let’s just hope that DSJ can stay out of the dreaded Rick Carlisle rookie doghouse.
The 10-day contract wonder! Yogi was quite the surprise for the Mavs last season as he earned his spot more than anyone. The undrafted guard joined Dallas in late January after being waived by the Nets. Yogi started his first game with the Mavs and quickly earned the respect and trust of his teammates and coaches. Throughout the season, Yogi played in 36 games, starting 29 of them, averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 assists in almost 30 minutes per game. With the departure of Deron Williams, Ferrell was able to step in and helped boost the Mavs pick-and-roll success and overall effort. At Mavs Media Day, Carlisle mentioned the prospect of playing DSJ and Yogi alongside each other this season. Expect Yogi to get plenty of run off the bench this season, with a possible starting spot up for grabs.
Forever a Mavs legend from the 2011 Championship run, J.J. Barea remains a vital part of the Mavericks. One of Dirk’s favorite players to go to battle with, Barea continues to produce on the court with his pick-and-roll mastery and his ability to score in bunches in clutch situations. At 33-years-old, Barea may be on the back end of his career but he remains a vocal point to this team. J.J. will continue to produce and add toughness to the Mavs while stepping into a role model for DSJ and Yogi as they grow into their own. I expect the same old consistent J.J. this season as he provides for Dallas off the bench.
Another Maverick lifer alongside Barea, Devin Harris is back yet again in a Dallas jersey. After the Mavs picked up his team option this summer, the versatile 34-year-old brings a lot to the table for this team. Being able the best defensive point guard on the roster, Harris is able to defend both guard positions and sometimes even the 3. Though he struggled shooting from three-point range last season, DH is one of those smart, two-way players that you can’t leave off the floor. As Harris remains a favorite of Rick Carlisle’s, expect him to be used as the Mavs Swiss army knife in the back court while he lends his hand in helping DSJ and Yogi develop.
Though he isn’t true point guard, Seth Curry will likely see some time at the point. Curry joined the Mavs last season as he was turning into a young journeymen in the league. The former Duke Blue Devil wasted little time early on as he quickly impressed with his offensive and shooting ability. Curry played in 70 games, starting 42 of them, averaging just under 13 points per game while shooting 42.5% from three-point land. Alongside his shooting stroke, Curry proved he can distribute the ball, averaging just under three assists per game. As this year comes as a contract year for Curry, look for him to come into the season a better player looking to prove his worth. And you better believe the Mavericks know his worth. Whether it’s at point guard or shooting guard, Curry needs to be on the floor for the Mavericks. Period.
No matter what the rotation turns out to be or how the minutes are allocated, each five of these guards will be on the floor and turn out to each lend a helping hand in the success of the Mavericks this season.
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