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 Fluidity

Reason No. 3: Desensitization

Moving from the starting lineup to a reserve role can be tough for an NBA player. There’s stigma involved in such a move and can be seen as a blatant demotion.  The act has fractured relationships between players and coaches countless times and how it’s handled could have course-altering effects on the team.

Fans know how important a good sixth man can be. It’s not uncommon to see a good sixth man score more points than half the starting lineup, nor is it uncommon to see that sixth man on the floor late in the game when everything’s in the balance.

But moving from starting-5 to No. 6 can be a shot to the gut for NBA Player even if he knows how big and how important a reserve role can be.

Rick Carlisle doesn’t let such a move take anyone off guard. Everything and everyone (not named Luka) is on the table for him. Players know he’s constantly looking for match-ups and just because you’re coming off the bench one game/one series, does not mean it will hold true next game/ next series.

There’s comfort in that and the Dallas Mavericks players who play for him, know it can happen any day. They know it’s for the good of the team and they know it doesn’t necessarily mean less playing time or fewer opportunities.

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Look no further than Tim Hardaway Jr.’s last game. He played minutes as a reserve more than his season average and he arguably put up his best performance of the season as well.  He wasn’t thrilled with the move to the bench but it didn’t come as a shock because it’s a pretty standard practice of Rick Carlisle.

All of this moving around desensitizes players to change. They learn to roll with the punches. And when Rick has to do something big, perhaps in the postseason, when everything’s on the line, he doesn’t have to worry about players grumbling about their role. He sets the expectations from the jump.

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While it would be nice to have a clear-cut elite starting lineup to roll out each and every week, the fact is the Dallas Mavericks just aren’t there. So it makes sense (especially with KP still out) to be ultra-fluid with the lineup. There’s a method to the madness and there’s some very good reasons why it’s a good thing for the Dallas Mavericks.