Drew Gooden enters camp as the favorite to start at center, which means Erick Dampier probably moves to the bench. But Dampier will play heavy minutes against the elite back-to-the-basket scorers. Once he's recovered from minor knee surgery, Tim Thomas will likely carve out a niche in the rotation because of his perimeter shooting ability.
However, Rick Carlisle won't hesitate to call on the 6-8, 240-pound Singleton or 6-9, 235-pound Humphries if the coach thinks the Mavs needed a defensive-minded dirty-work guy on the floor.
Carlisle calls Singleton "one of those ultimate role players," raving about the veteran's rugged play, unselfishness and effort in practice.
He sees the same qualities in Humphries, who has averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds in five seasons. Carlisle also pointed out that Humphries, the 14th overall pick in the 2004 draft, is only 24 years old and still developing.
"He's a guy that nobody's talking about that has quietly made a very good impression," Carlisle said.