Here’s a quick dive into the lineups of 3 Western Conference teams.
- The Dallas Mavericks replaced Dwight Powell with Willie Cauley-Stein in their starting lineup on Tuesday. Powell opened the season starting in 16 straight games with Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dorian Finney-Smith, but coach Jason Kidd now looks to be exploring different options with that 5th guy. The lack of scoring Powell & Finney-Smith bring at times has left Luka, KP, and Tim Jr. with a big load to carry on offense. Luckily for the Mavs, Jalen Brunson (15.1 PPG & 5.3 APG) has been fantastic off the bench, Trey Burke (5.4 PPG in 10.5 MPG) is scoring the ball well when called on, and Maxi Kleber (41.9% 3-PT) recently returned from injury on Sunday. Other role players like Reggie Bullock (28.4 % 3-PT) & Sterling Brown (23.3% 3-PT) can help add to Dallas’ bench group if they can get going at some point as well.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves have made two replacements in their starting lineup. Coach Chris Finch has inserted Patrick Beverley & Jarred Vanderbilt to play alongside Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell. Finch also gave Jaden McDaniels (10 starts) & Josh Okogie (4 starts) a number of opportunities to start, but Beverley and Vanderbilt have definitely fit the best chemistry wise. Much like the Dallas Mavericks, the Wolves see a big drop off in scoring after their three best starters and that is where Malik Beasley can shine. His shooting numbers (34.2% FG/32.4% 3-PT/66.7% FT) have been awful to start the year, but the 25-year-old finally found a rhythm on Wednesday and exploded for 29 points in a 113-101 win vs. the Miami Heat. He’s currently 4th on the team in scoring at 10.3 PPG, as his offense off the bench will be much needed to keep winning games.
- The Memphis Grizzlies certainly wish they still had Jonas Valanciunas (19.1 PPG-Pelicans) and Grayson Allen (14.4 PPG-Bucks) during possessions where they need a quick basket. Memphis traded offense for defense over the summer in the Valanciunas for Steven Adams deal and also made another notable change by inserting second year player Desmond Bane into the starting lineup. Adams is only averaging 7.0 PPG while Bane has done a nice job by putting up 15.8 PPG, which has left the need for starters Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, (all seeing an increase in PPG) and their bench to bring even more of a spark every night. Currently injured De’Anthony Melton (groin) played lights out to start the season with offensive numbers of 13.7 PPG on 43.2% 3-PT in 6 games, but has since cooled off and averaged 7.4 PPG on 28.9% 3-PT in his next 9 outings. As for the rest of Memphis’ bench, many players that can provide offense like Kyle Anderson (22.2 MPG), Brandon Clarke (16.4 MPG), Tyus Jones (15.4 MPG), and Xavier Tillman (13.1 MPG) are seeing less minutes so far in 2021-22.