Mavericks Struggling To Find Answers In The Paint

Dereck Lively II, Jason Kidd, Dwight Powell, Mavericks, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The Dallas Mavericks entered the 2023 NBA offseason with a few clear goals in mind. After falling apart post-NBA Trade Deadline last season, they knew their rotation needed some upgrades.

The team surrendered a lot of valuable depth acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets and it left them short-handed down the stretch. A few moves were made to fill in those voids, as Jason Kidd has a deep, versatile group of players to make his rotation from.

However, arguably the biggest need for the team was finding answers in the middle at the center spot. The Mavericks made some moves, acquiring Richaun Holmes in a trade from the Sacramento Kings and selecting Dereck Lively II with the 12th overall pick. They joined holdovers Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber in the frontcourt.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Dwight Powell, Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks Updates

While the pieces have changed, the results have essentially remained the same for the Mavericks. They are 6-2 on the season, but that hot start could quickly be derailed by their inability to slow down opponents in the paint.

As shared by Grant Afseth of DallasBasketball.com and NBA Analysis Network, the Mavericks are hemorrhaging points in the paint. They are currently second to last in the NBA, allowing 57.3 points per game. Only the Indiana Pacers at 61.3 are currently worse.

Out of those teams in the top five, the Mavericks and Pacers are the only ones with a winning record. The Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz are all near the bottom of the standings in the early going of the season.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Dwight Powell, Dereck Lively II, Dallas Mavericks Updates

What Dallas and Indiana have in common to make up for the lack of paint protection is elite guard play. Luka Doncic, Irving and Tyrese Haliburton are all All-Star caliber players that can cover up for deficiencies on the team. But, if the Mavericks want to be one of the last teams standing, they have to figure things out defensively.

It was certainly a risk putting all of their eggs into the Powell and Lively basket. Lively should get better as he gains more NBA experience, but at this point, the Mavericks know what they can expect to get out of Powell. If things don’t turn around in the coming weeks, expect Dallas to seek out some frontcourt help ahead of the deadline.

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