The Dallas Mavericks don’t just want one low-cost project big man to fill out their rotation. They want all of them.
Dallas’ signing of Ian Mahinmi last summer has paid off nicely this year, and in an effort to find a similarly successful player on an equally affordable salary, the Mavs signed former lottery pick Brandan Wright, one-time cast-off Sean Williams, and — most recently — lottery letdown Yi Jianlian. As per Rick Carlisle’s custom, all of the Mavs’ bigs have received playing time rather randomly; Brendan Haywood and Mahinmi are the rotation regulars, but Williams’ 12-point outburst in the second game of the season was met with minimal playing time and an eventual D-League assignment, Dallas signed Yi and sent him to the D-League for a rehab stint, Wright logged 12 minutes over the Mavs’ last two games seemingly out of nowhere with Lamar Odom and Dirk Nowitzki filling in as utility centers in between.
There’s a shotgun feel to all of it, as Carlisle tests out each player in order to determine their capacity to bolster his lineups. Now, apparently, it’s Yi’s turn, as the Mavericks announced via releas on Monday that they’ve recalled Yi Jianlian from their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.
Based on Carlisle’s seemingly random rotation of extra bigs thus far, it’d be silly to make predictions as to how Yi might be utilized. But he’ll at the very least be with the team for their game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, and will likely be in uniform as a member of Carlisle’s flexible corps of athletic bigs.