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Starting job is Brendan Haywood's after all

12/9/2011

That promise Rick Carlisle made to Brendan Haywood about being the starting center for the Dallas Mavericks? Yeah, well, a year and change later, the coach is keeping his promise.

No one knew what to expect when Tyson Chandler showed up in a July 2010 trade from Charlotte. Surely no one could have predicted that he'd change the defensive culture of the team, play a full season virtually injury-free and make significant contributions to the franchise's first championship.

Likewise, who would have figured that Chandler would be one and done in Dallas?

He is and now the 7-foot Haywood is back in the spotlight as the team's starting center, presumably.

"I feel comfortable doing whatever the team needs," Haywood said. "So if it's to play the same role as last year, that's fine. If it's to play more minutes because of a situation, that's fine, too."

The "situation" will almost assuredly put Haywood on the floor for much more than the 18.3 minutes he averaged a year ago, a career low. His 4.4 scoring average was by far a career low and 5.2 rebounds was nipping at his career worst average. Nothing was worse, however, than Haywood's embarrassing 36.2 free throw percentage, a mark that's got to come up if he's going to be on court 28 minutes or more night.

The Mavs were reluctant to trade the former Washington Wizard last season. It turns out for good reason.