Dallas Mavericks: 3 Reasons a Fluid Lineup is a Good Thing

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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dallas mavericks
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks continue to rollout different starting lineups this season…

Continuity is important for a team. Teammates learn the tendencies of one another and the collective is in position to perform with maximum synergy and peak efficiency. So why then do the Dallas Mavericks insist on changing things up seemingly every game?

Just the other night Rick Carlisle rolled out Maxi Kleber and Willie Cauley-Stein in the starting lineup and moved Dwight Powell and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the second team. The results were fantastic…but also short-lived…

Rick Carlisle spoke of the Dallas Mavericks’ lineup changes after the game. He basically said don’t get used to it because he bases this lineups on situations and match-ups. This understandably upset part of the Dallas Mavericks fanbase who have been clamoring for more Willie and less Dwight all season long.

I mean, why wouldn’t you want to start your best five players every game, right?

Three reasons, really. And we’ll discuss those three reasons today…

Dallas Mavericks Fluidity

Reason No. 1: Match-ups

In not-so-many words, Rick Carlisle says it all the time:  He wants to match-up as needed on defense and exploit mismatches whenever possible on offense. A perfect example is the NBA’s small-ball scenario.

The biggest change to in today’s NBA is a team’s ability to dominate playing small-ball. By playing centers with shooting range and good lateral movement, traditional “bigs” become obsolete. Sure we see occasional dominant games from big guys like Boban from time to time, but it has to be in a match-up in which he’s the exploiter – not the exploited.

This applies to other positions as well. If Dallas plays Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson together, they risk getting destroyed on defense. That doesn’t mean the pairing can’t happen, it just can’t happen when playing against elite guards.

Rick Carlisle is regarded as one of the best coaches at finding mismatches. He studies teams and identifies their weaknesses. And he isn’t afraid to dig deep into the well (far down the bench) for players.