The Dallas Mavericks enter Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers bolstering an incredibly shorthanded lineup for the second consecutive game. While the team was hopeful their trade with the New York Knicks which included Kristaps Porzingis could provide some depth, that apparently won’t be the case.
As Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News reported, the tentative press conferences to introduce the newest members of the Mavericks is set for Monday. He also cites that their physicals apparently still need to be done, meaning a debut Saturday against the Cavaliers is all but certain to be off the table.
This means the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke will all debut at some point next week more than likely. Fortunately, after Saturday’s game, the team is off through Wednesday when they welcome the Charlotte Hornets for a home game. In turn, this could point to an ideal debut for Hardaway, Lee and Burke.
The situation with Porzingis is an entirely different story, and we’ll take a look at that as well moving forward.
First, let’s break down the Mavericks’ roster and starting lineup against the Cavaliers.
Mavericks Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Cavaliers
|Center||Salah Mejri||Dwight Powell|
|Power Forward||Harrison Barnes||Maxi Kleber||Dirk Nowitzki|
|Small Forward||Luka Doncic|
|Shooting Guard||Dorian Finney-Smith||Ryan Broekhoff||Daryl Macon|
|Point Guard||Jalen Brunson||Devin Harris|
This marks the second game without any player acquired in the deal, and in the first against the Detroit Pistons, rookie phenom Luka Doncic was also ruled out. Although the Mavericks kept that one close, falling 93-89, they had just three players score in double figures.
Harrison Barnes led the way with 27 points while adding seven rebounds and four assists. Devin Harris (15 points) and Dwight Powell (10 points) were the other two double-digit scorers in the loss. It’s likely that even with Doncic expected back for this game, Barnes, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber could all see big minutes.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Mavericks opt to approach the point guard position and how much time Doncic spends running the show. Jalen Brunson played 33 minutes last game, but that number could be a decent amount lower on Saturday.
Latest on Kristaps Porzingis
The news on Porzingis didn’t exactly leave the team’s fanbase thrilled, but it’s still somewhat understandable. The Mavericks apparently have no interest in putting Porzingis on the floor this season. Owner Mark Cuban made that clear shortly after the deal, as Townsend and the Dallas Morning News detailed.
While the 23-year-old continues rehabbing from a torn ACL which was suffered last season, there was some belief he’d return before the end of the year. Regardless, it seems the Mavericks simply want to play it safe with their newest addition, meaning he’ll be watching from the sidelines for the final stretch of the year.