In the NBA, there are 82 players in the game and there are 16 players. Those good regular season players and the players who make the difference in this pressure cooker are the playoffs.
Dwight Powell is an example of a player 82 game. It provides a running edge and can through sheer effort maintain the integrity of the defense based on trust and rotation in time. Dwight Powell has also shown that he is not a player in 16 games. He was largely unplayable in the playoffs and the Mavericks hoped they could survive his minutes whenever he was pressed into action. The team and fans agree that the center position is in dire need of a promotion.
The free agent market is full of 82 players. Mitchell Robinson, Mo Bamba, Isaiah Hartenstein, Richawn Holmes, and Derek Vevers are among the names being traded on social media as potential targets. In fact, any of these names would be a promotion on Dwight Powell… for the regular season. However, none of these players made it to the playoff series closing matches. Without a doubt, our best lineup was Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber of the five.
Playing five rounds (each player in the ocean) is the future of the NBA and presents unique matching flaws for defenses trying to cover the sun with their hands. Kleber is key to our final squad but he is 30 years old and has an injury history longer than a roll of toilet paper. He is no longer a player in 82 games and must be preserved in the playoffs. As it is currently built, the Mavericks do not have a player capable of stepping in and doing what Clipper does. His ability to run perimeter, throw open shots, and rim protection make him invaluable as a player. In fact, being promoted to Powell is great but someone who can step in or play alongside Clipper in certain formations is what can take this team to the next level.
Unlike last year, the Mavericks had no cover space. Outside of the trade, the taxpayer “mid-level exception” (TPE), “trading player exception” (TPE) from Josh Richardson’s trade, and the 26th pick in the draft are the only ways to improve the team. Combine that with the lack of positive assets and it’s hard to imagine that we could get into a conversation about the world, Zach Lavigne.
Your best bet is to build on our culture and training to make the most of distressed assets. It worked with Tim Hardaway Jr. It worked really well with Spencer Dinwiddie and even Davis Bertans played some key minutes for us last year. Until the second round of first-round picks owed to the Knicks, we have to be realistic about what can be achieved for us and prioritize fit and potential over focusing on player warts. Basketball reference and StatMuse don’t tell the whole story when it comes to some players. Context matters. The situation is important. Teammates, role, and appropriate scheme. How the player in their current team is used cannot be used here. Some locker rooms are a time bomb and can’t add a disgruntled or disaffected head to the equation. Can defectors. Talk to any player and they will tell you how much they united and bought in the locker room. With that being said, let’s take a quick look at what kind of positions Nico Harrison and the front office should be targeting for this off season.
MMB is releasing free agent profiles and scripts for potential trading targets during the holiday season and we’ll delve deeper into the players mentioned below. For now, let’s discuss them from an overall perspective and how their theory as a player is what the team needs as they look to build on their appearance in the Western Conference Finals.
In a vacuum, it was hard to imagine the Mavericks having the assets needed to win the bidding war over the talented big man. His recent injury history and awkward fit alongside Domantas Sabonis may have taken some air off the asking price. Assuming health, which is a lot to assume, Turner has the talent to win Defensive Player of the Year. It’s not a fleet of feet and wouldn’t let us switch from 1 to 5 but its edge protection is impeccable. On the attack, his ability to take and craft 3s allows him to align well with the existing Mavs core.
Admit it, you made a face and cursed my name. You may have heard “No thanks” audible. I get it. Wood has had character concerns since the initial draft process (Editor’s note: It went without an industry after thatHe did little to dispel those notions. His effort on the defensive side was inconsistent at best and non-existent at worst. I mentioned earlier that culture and training are important. Houston has a problem in both areas.
In fact, every team Wood played in his career has lacked leadership and accountability. In Houston, coach Silas struggled to impress his team on the defensive. Sure, the list is not overloaded with two-way players but the lack of effort and apathy on the defensive end is visible even to most casual fans. Wood is the “veterinarian” in the locker room but is not qualified to take on the lead role. In Dallas, he wouldn’t have to. It should fit into a locker room that trust each other and hold each other accountable. On the field, it’s nearly as decent as it is. Offensively, Kidd will ask him to put up hard screens, dive to the edge, catch the alley, and hit open triangles when both defenders collapse onto Luca.
In some matches, Dallas can run our attack through Wood and allow him to punish smaller players in the paint. Defensively, it has the speed and length to hold its keys and can provide solid bottom edge protection. He has a tendency to be bullied by the big positions on the block but that’s no different from Dwight Powell and even Clipper. If Kidd can convince him to get out, he can also be an extra in the recoil department. There are safer bets, but few, if any, of them can raise the bar for this team the way Wood can.
There are other centers out there as well. Who do you like and why? Do you disagree with the hypothesis on the face of it? Let me know in the comments.