The Mavericks starting lineup still needs another playmaker
Do you know where they can find one? Probably at home, with a “stomach bug,” but that’s a matter for another day.
While I do believe Luka is a natural point guard, that lineup features four guys who aren’t regular dribble/pass/shoot threats. And it rears its ugly head at times, like it did in the late third/early fourth quarter.
The Mavericks went into the half up 11, and came out of the third quarter only up five. There were a lot of possessions where after the initial action was defended well by San Antonio, the possession just watered down into an isolation or poor shot.
“We knew that they were going to come out of the second half playing with a lot of force, and they did. And we didn’t play with enough force on our end.” Carlisle said of his team’s second half performance.
It’s becoming a troubling trend for them to struggle in second halves and third quarters and it stems from their stagnant offense on most occasions.
The Mavericks miss Dennis Smith Jr.
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the previous point.
In today’s NBA, it is a must to have multiple ballhandlers and playmakers in a particular lineup for it to have success. As noted earlier, the Mavericks starting group minus Dennis, only has one.
But that lineup with Dennis has been bad all year, right? Sure. But I think we may have identified the wrong pairing to place blame upon.
Lets not question the Luka/Dennis pairing. Let’s question the Wes/Harrison duo. Not that those guys are bad players individually, but they both have a tendency to dribble too much and kill the flow, and THAT might be what’s bogging down the Luka/Dennis pairing, not the kids themselves.
And even if it’s not? So what. What’s the rush? These kids deserve the chance to try and figure this thing out. There are clearly some details that need to be ironed out behind closed doors in the Mavs front office, but moving on from the 21-year-old this quick might not be the answer.
It’s time to face a harsh reality
This team just doesn’t have enough. They play hard, and that’s great, but there is not enough talent here for them to be a good, or even playoff quality team, and that’s okay.
After all this season was about one thing really: Luka. And through his first 40 or so games, he’s been nothing short of spectacular. Better than even the most optimistic projections could have figured.
“Oh yeah, for sure. Every day you learn the league more, but at the end of the day, it’s just basketball. And if you know how to play basketball, you’ll be alright,” Luka said of whether or not he has been getting more comfortable with the NBA.
But it just seems that too often, especially recently, he’s carrying way too much of a load as a youngster. The vets are supposed to be steady and reliable, but they have been anything but. Tonight was another example of that.
What does that mean? That’s still unclear, but what is, is that rebuilds take some time, and this one is no exception.
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