So far, through 20 regular-season games, Luka Doncic could be the best player in the entire league in addition to clearly being the best player on the Dallas Mavericks. But outside of Doncic, who's the second-best player on the Mavs?
Some would say it's Christian Wood, who was acquired in the offseason and has yet to start a game for the Mavs.
Mavericks' GM Nico Harrison made an appearance on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday to discuss Dallas' early-season performance, including Wood's play and why he's coming off the bench opposed to being a starter.
"Yeah, I get it. Here's the thing: I tell everybody this, when it comes to who starts the game, to me that's a feel thing. That's the feel of the team. That's more of how other people play and that's just the feel," said Harrison of fans calling for Wood in the starting lineup.
"To me, it's getting your minutes. However you get your minutes throughout the game. As long as you're getting your minutes, that's the important thing."
And that's fair. As long as Wood is getting his 30 minutes per game or so and his touches on offense, it doesn't matter if he starts or comes off the bench. But what about being on the floor in crunch time at the end of games?
"And then, who ends the game is usually who is playing the best at that time, so that's going to vary from game to game," Harrison said.
With Wood, that hasn't always been the case, although he’s averaging 16.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game on elite efficiency. There have been a handful of games where Kidd has taken him out with four to five minutes remaining, which sometimes hinders the Mavericks on the offensive end of the floor.
Following Sunday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Doncic praised Wood and the lineup that started the second half, which sparked Dallas' run to get back into the game.
"It's a good lineup," said Doncic of Wood starting the third quarter. "I don't know exactly who was in — it's a lot of lineups. Christian [Wood] is a great player and he helps us a lot."
As for Harrison, he leaves these kind of decisions up to Kidd and the rest of the coaching staff, and it seems that no major changes with Wood’s role will be happening any time soon.
"For me, I don't worry about who starts. I'll leave that up to the coaching staff on who starts," Harrison said. "The thing is, he's doing such a great job of coming off the bench, a lot of times you don't want to mess that up."
Hopefully Wood feels the same way. Because if he doesn’t, the Mavs could be messing up their chances of retaining him beyond this season — whether that’s via a contract extension during this season or in free agency next summer.
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