On any given night, coach Rick Carlisle has four centers he can turn to, and the Dallas Mavericks will likely wind up with some meaningful results.
But is it about time for Carlisle to settle on a set rotation at center?
“I would prefer for it to be as consistent as possible,” Carlisle said. “It’s better for coaching, it’s better for the players.
“We may be moving towards that. I don’t know if we’re not there yet, but we’ve just got to keep going.”
Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Brandan Wright and Bernard James are the centers in Carlisle’s rotation. Some of it is based on matchups; other times he goes by feel.
“We’ve got four guys that are very capable that all do things a little bit differently and bring different positives to the team,” Carlisle said.
“I think it’s incumbent on me to be open to the possibilities of any of those guys in any situation and not be locked into a definite rotation if I’ve got other guys that can do it.”
Ellis proves upgrade
Carlisle said he was “shocked” the Mavs even had a chance to sign shooting guard Monta Ellis to a three-year, $25 million free agent contract last summer.
Especially after they lost last year’s shooting guard, O.J. Mayo, to Milwaukee via free agency.
“We needed to upgrade that position,” Carlisle said. “I knew he was a lot better than what we had last year, and he’s played great this year.
“We need his quickness, we need his play-making, his paint attacks. He’s been a really good scorer for nine years, so we know he can do that.”
Carlisle scoffed at the notion that Ellis had warts during his previous stops in Golden State and Milwaukee.
“I didn’t see issues — I was excited about it,” Carlisle said. “I didn’t really see any downside to it at all.
“He’s just a really good player. He’s smart, he knows his strengths.”
Just because Shawn Marion scored a season-high 32 points Monday at Minnesota doesn’t necessarily mean he has become the Mavs’ third scorer behind Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.
“I don’t know about first, second and third or fourth scorers,” Carlisle said. “I’m not looking for a third guy or a fourth guy.
“I’m looking to create a team here where we can get it from any number of guys. Yeah, there will be a third-leading scorer on the stats, but it’s not like somebody has got to feel pressured to go out and be that guy every night.”
The 32 points were the most Marion has scored during his 315-game career with the Mavs.
“It’s not made for me to do that every game,” Marion said. “I just do what I need to do to help the team.”
Fair or foul?
Marion could care less that the NBA came out a day later and said he should have been whistled for a foul on Kevin Love with 1 second left in Monday’s 100-98 win over Minnesota.
“It don’t bother me,” Marion said. “They’re always coming back trying to fix something.
“It is what it is. It happened and we got the win.”
Asked if such calls balance out, owner Mark Cuban said: “It definitely does not balance out, but I am all for complete transparency.
“The more info the NBA shares the more educated and connected everyone becomes.”