DALLAS — There's a lot of optimism surrounding the Dallas Mavericks entering the 2021-22 season — both coming from internal and external sources. Among them is head coach Jason Kidd, who is in the beginning stage of the first season of his tenure with the organization.
Between some experts viewing Luka Doncic as a favorite to win the MVP and the Mavericks as a team being a dark-horse contender in the Western Conference, the expectations are high entering the Oct. 21 regular-season opener — a road contest against the Atlanta Hawks.
Partly why Kidd is so optimistic about this Mavericks team is the different options he has at his disposal when deploying various lineup combinations. He values the versatility of its key players and while the "counsel" consisting of Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and, of course, Doncic, all expressed their desire to have Dwight Powell start at center, there are plenty of options, in general.
When talking to reporters after Monday's practice, Kidd explained how the versatility of the personnel on the Mavericks roster enables the team to go big, medium, or small — depending on the given circumstances of a situation.
“When you talk about the roster, [it’s] the different combinations that you can throw out there,” Kidd told Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “You can go big. You can go medium. And you can go small.
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“I like our depth. I like where everybody’s at, mentally and physically. So I’m excited to see them start this journey. It’s not always going to be perfect, and we’re not going to win every game, but I’m looking forward to it.”
When evaluating what the 'big' lineup could be, deploying Powell next to Porzingis certainly checks the box. However, utilizing 7-foot-2 Moses Brown or Willie Cauley-Stein at the five would also check that box.
A 'medium' lineup surely would consist of Porzingis manning the middle as the five but a larger forward at the four spot — most likely Maxi Kleber.
Where it gets interesting for Kidd and the Mavericks is in the 'small' lineup options. Porzingis at the five spot with Dorian Finney-Smith at the four along with Reggie Bullock on the wing appears to be an intriguing 'spread' lineup to maximize speed and switching ability.
Now, the Mavericks could also go 'super small' by deploying Kleber at the five and using a wing at the four. It appears quite unlikely for that to happen often, but it's a potential 'switch everything option with complete floor spacing in the personnel.