Mavericks: Who will be the primary ball handler this season?

Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks are loaded with ball handlers and because of that, they are expected to take a committee approach, but who will be the PRIMARY ball handler this season…

The Dallas Mavericks raised plenty of eyebrows with their moves this summer. Not only did they draft ball handler Luka Doncic in the first round, but they also picked up PG Jalen Brunson, who is a top candidate for being “The Steal of the Draft”.

It’s not as if the players themselves were questionable selections, it’s that the Mavericks are already relatively deep at point guard. J.J. Barea and Devin Harris are proven veterans who will get their minutes. And PG Dennis Smith Jr., truly a budding star, is just entering his second season. He’s shown enough to be considered a key cornerstone in the Mavericks rebuilding process.

The Dallas Mavericks have already stated their intended starting lineup this season: DSJ, Doncic, Matthews, Barnes, and Jordan will all be the starting five (health permitting). DSJ is the first to say he’s at his best when the ball is in his hands. Moving him from the 1 spot is going to be a tough sell and his success as a 2 is far from a sure thing.

Similarly, Doncic is best with the ball in his hands. He’s a facilitator pure and simple. Where some rookies struggle to see the floor and anticipate the plays, Doncic is naturally proficient in this area. He doesn’t just want the ball in his hands – he needs the ball in his hands.

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The early returns of practice and preseason tell us Luka makes all of those around him better. He’s a scorer in his own right, but he’s a facilitator first and foremost. That’s why at the end of the day, the ball is going to be in Luka’s hands longer than they’re going to be in DSJ’s.

We don’t know if Luka is going to spend more time at guard or more time at forward. On Saturday he seemed to play all five positions at some point.

Where he’ll ultimately play will depend on how his perimeter defense this season. But it would be surprising if Luka didn’t lead the team in possession.

As we see more from this team and track their development together, we’ll inevitably know more. We can also expect a shared ball handling responsibility. No matter how good Doncic proves to be running the offense, DSJ is too darn good not to get his share of ball handling responsibilities. Additionally, J.J. Barea is far too good to not log significant time at the 1 as well. He was arguably the best PG on the team last season.

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The main take away is we need to accept that this will be an organic situation that will see many changes as the players develop. Even though we haven’t seen much of Luka, we shouldn’t expect him to be automatically eased into this thing. He’s getting thrown in. Luck for us – he seems to be swimming

  • Published on 10/02/2018 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 10/01/2018 at 12:34 PM