Dallas Mavericks Fluidity
Reason No. 2: Experimentation
For as good as Rick Carlisle is at finding mismatches on the court, he isn’t perfect. Lineups aren’t an exact science and trial and error (which can still be scientific) is often needed to see exactly what you have.
Just because Player A looks like he’s perfectly built to exploit Player B, doesn’t mean it will actually come to fruition. It has to be tested. And tested again. What worked and why?
Something Rick also told us was how he likes to change multiple parts at a time and not just a single swap. He said if he changes one player, it impacts other areas of the court, so often times other changes are required.
There’s a lot of elements to be tested and in order to get trustworthy results you have to have a strong enough sample size. Perhaps that’s a reason why he’s been sticking with Dwight Powell so long.
The NBA season is long but each team only gets so many chances to test lineups against potential playoff opponents. Testing the lineup against a lesser team to warm up and gain comfort is smart business because it lets a certain grouping gain some cohesion before a real playoff-caliber test comes.
Experimenting with the starting lineup isn’t just about finding the best starting unit, but it’s also about finding the best groupings in certain situations against certain opponents. The regular season is for testing those theories.