Who starts at PF with Dirk Nowitzki down?

October, 19, 2012
DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki is expected to miss at least a dozen games after finally getting his sore, swollen right knee scoped.

Ben and Skin react to the news of Dirk Nowitzki undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Listen Listen
How do the Mavericks fill in for the face of the franchise?

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."



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?


Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.


Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2