The Mavericks have seen a lot of turnover in their roster this off-season. Fan-favorite and energy spark, Yogi Ferrell, has left, the beloved star that Mavs fans have been desiring has finally arrived in DeAndre Jordan, the failed project of Nerlens Noel has departed and a painting of a bright future has been created with the additions of Luka Dončić and Jalen Brunson. All these changes leave Mavs fans with one question, who is going to be in the starting lineup? Here is presented the ideal starting line-up:
Point Guard: Dennis Smith Jr.
This should not come as a surprise to Mavericks fans since the Mavericks organization has trusted Dennis with the reigns of the starting lineup since the day he was drafted. Last season, Dennis played 69 games and averaged slightly under 30 minutes per game (29.7 min. per game), scoring 15.2 point per game and dishing out 5.2 assists per game. His explosiveness when going to the basket gives the Mavericks an edge because it will be hard for defenders to stay in front of him and cause other defenders to leave their assignments and leave Dennis’ teammates wide open in the perimeter. Entering his second year, Dennis does not seem at all worried about the sophomore slump as he prepares for the season. Training with Steph Curry’s shooting coach and practicing those gravity-defying dunks all summer has him poised for a stellar season.
Shooting Guard: Luka Dončić
Luka, the exciting European enigma, will unavoidably (gratefully) see starter minutes. The question from the moment he was drafted is how he would fit in the Mavericks’ starting line-up. Luka is capable and willing to play positions 1-4, however, he should be placed in the back court along with Dennis Smith Jr as the starting shooting guard. This would force Wesley Matthews to swallow his pride and take a 6th man role behind Luka, but it will be for the betterment of the team. Luka is coming into the Mavericks’ organization being seen as a savior from the tank-aggedon (tanking +armageddon) and hero that one day could guide as back to the promise land! Can it be done? Only time can tell. As a starting guard Luka can relieve Dennis from the pressure of handling the ball, creating shots and getting his teammates open. He was able to dish out a bit over 4 assists per game in his last season in the Euro-league and this number should at the very minimum stay consisted because of the offensive threats he will be teamed up with. We have seen the success Luka has had offensively in the Euro-league and hopefully it will translate into the NBA. The Mavericks hit the jack-pot with this draft pick and there is no wrong placement for him on the starting line-up.
Small Forward: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes has handled being the first option in the Mavericks’ offense very well. In his first two seasons as a Maverick he has averaged about 19 points per games, 5.5 rebounds per games while maintaining a 45% field goal percentage and shooting 35% behind the arc. These are numbers that he was able to put up in a tanking situation these last two seasons, meaning there is potential for these numbers to increase in a win-now environment and being surrounded by players that help spread the floor and be productive play makers. Harrison Barnes is a decent defender that will make players work for their buckets. He can be interchangeable between the 3 and 4 spots but has been more productive hitting the court as a small forward. He will be able to take the pressure of offensive production off from the young back court, leaving space for them to mature into productive NBA players.
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki
Of course, it is going to be the Mavericks G.O.A.T., DIRK NOWITZKI! Unfortunately, entering his 21st season we cannot expect him to be the offensive juggernaut he once was but he is still undoubtedly valuable to the team. He will be able to spread the floor, score clutch buckets and have a strong veteran presence on and off the court. Dirk will probably only see 22-24 minutes per game but Mavs fans can trust he will make them as productive as he can. Who knows, maybe we will see him punch his ticket to lob-city a couple times a night?
Center: DeAndre Jordan
Finally! DeAndre Jordan is a Dallas Maverick. Regardless of any past drama (the emoji-gate), DeAndre is the clear #1 choice for the job as the starting center. He should be seeing 32-34 minutes per game and will become the defensive anchor in the paint that the Mavericks have been missing since the departure (both times) of Tyson Chandler. Jordan is a double-double machine who, along with Dirk, will be a frequent flyer to lob-city. The level of excitement he brings onto the court and into the fans is reason enough to start him but his stats put up even a stronger argument. In the last 3 years DeAndre has averaged around 12 points per game and 14 rebounds per game and this production should be expected to stay the same in the upcoming season. DeAndre athleticism will be a compliment to the young backcourt and a threat in the paint that will catch the attention of defenders.
Mavericks fans have so much to be excited about. This is one of the most exciting potential starting line-ups that has been seen in years. Will this be the starting line-up? There is no guarantee. Dirk can end up coming off the bench, Matthews could be a starter, pushing Luca and Barnes up a position, there are a lot of possibilities. However, I think I speak for the majority of Mavs fans, that this is the line-up we want to see.