It’s hard to imagine this actually happening. Not to the best player in franchise history, the talisman of the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk Nowitzki is a starter, even if his minutes are reduced.
But… DeAndre Jordan is the starting center for Dallas this season, Harrison Barnes spent the majority of his minutes last season (56 percent of them) at the four, rookie Luka Doncic is really a ball-handling three, Wesley Mathews is at the two, and Dennis Smith Jr. is at the point. Where is Nowitzki in that?
Speaking to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki said he was open to the idea of idea of coming off the bench if that was best for the team.
“Obviously, the last couple years, I’ve played more at the five” Nowitzki said. “Jokingly, I told DeAndre that, the way the foot is healing, you’re going to have to fight for your starting spot. I texted him that two, three weeks ago. He was just laughing….
“Obviously, DeAndre’s going to be our starter at the five position and the rest will just kind of fall in place after that,” Nowitzki said. “If [Barnes] goes back to the four or we start other ways, I have no idea as of yet. But it’s a great problem to have. We want to be a franchise that is back in the playoffs and plays well and has fun again.”
In reality, Nowitzki will be the four, Barnes and Doncic will play a wing combo, and Smith will start at the point. Matthews will be with the second unit. What all of this gives the mad genius Rick Carlisle is options — he can go bigger, smaller, more defensive or more offensive depending upon the opponent and situation.
Is that going to be good enough to make the playoffs in the ridiculously deep West? Even with that versatility, Dallas is going to need some help.