Who starts at PF with Dirk Nowitzki down?
|Ben and Skin react to the news of Dirk Nowitzki undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. |
The simple answer would be to start Elton Brand at power forward, as the Mavs have done the last three preseason games. There are a couple of complicating factors, however.
First, Brand might have to start at center. Chris Kaman isn't making the trip to Atlanta because of a strained calf. Coach Rick Carlisle indicated that Kaman's injury isn't serious, but the big man's durability issues have been well chronicled.
Second, the ex-Clippers teammates might not be compatible as a starting tandem. The Mavs' defense has been messy with Brand and Kaman, who are both more comfortable as paint protectors than playing pick-and-roll defense or guarding face-up power forwards, on the floor together.
"I don’t know who’s going to start," Carlisle said. "We haven’t been doing so well with both of the big guys starting."
Brandan Wright is an option, but Carlisle has made it clear that he sees Wright as a center, not a power forward. Wright doesn't have the shooting range and ability to put the ball on the floor to fit as a power forward in the Mavs' system.
The other options are all undersized. Shawn Marion has played a lot of minutes at power forward, making four All-Star appearances there while with the Suns and serving as Nowitzki's backup during the Mavs' title season. He might be the best bet, which would likely mean Vince Carter at small forward in the starting lineup.
Rookie Jae Crowder and Carter -- both 6-foot-6 -- have played some power forward in the preseason.
"We’re going to be smallish a lot," Carlisle said, "and we’re going to have to make it work for us."
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Coop is staying true to his pick that the Spurs will win in six games and says that the Heat's legacy is on the line.
Play Podcast Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle gives his take on the NBA Finals, talks about the Nets' decision to hire Jason Kidd, the advice he'd give Kidd about being a head coach in the NBA and more.
Play Podcast ESPN's Scott Van Pelt joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to talk about the U.S. Open and the NBA Finals.
Play Podcast ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Mavericks news, Jason Kidd's interest in coaching the Nets and the NBA Finals.
Play Podcast ESPN senior NBA analyst Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the NBA Finals and latest Mavericks news.
Play Podcast Dirk Nowitzki joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live in studio to discuss the moves he expects the Mavericks to make this summer, what his pitch would be to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and his upcoming Heroes Celebrity baseball game.
Play Podcast Hubie Brown joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss every angle of Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and whether he would want Dwight Howard on his team.
Play Podcast Galloway & Company discuss Chris Paul's situation with the Clippers. Paul is unhappy being linked to the firing of his former coach. Could he join the Mavericks?