Jason Kidd on ESPN: Luka Doncic goals, replacing Brunson, and next season’s starting lineup

Before the Dallas Mavericks’ first NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas, Jason Kidd appeared on ESPN Friday. He addressed many things in the interview, including using Luka Doncic more off the ball, and who we might see as starters next season.

“I want to be able to use him [Doncic] behind the defense … sometimes you can rest in those minutes ”, Kidd referenced, in easing some of the load on Doncic while he shares the floor with another ballhandler. “Our job is to help him understand that he can play behind the defense, and have success that way too.”

Doncic’s workload has been a point of contention for most of his time with the Mavericks. His usage continues to grow each season, leading the entire league the last two years. The team is in a continual battle to utilize him to his maximum, but also find ways for him to not shoulder so much responsibility. There is no doubt the team has been at its best when Doncic is paired with another ballhandler. That fact makes the loss of Jalen Brunson in free agency sting just a bit more.

“We can’t replace Brunson,” Kidd stated Friday when asked what the plan will be to replace the guard’s production next season. “But when you talk about Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway coming back … we believe the points will be there. And we believe we’re going to be a bigger team. Nothing against JB’s height. But with Spencer [Dinwiddie] starting, our starting five is going to be big with JaVale [McGee] starting at center. ”

As was previously reported by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, JaVale McGee was pitched the starting center position by the Mavericks’ front office in free agency. But mention of returning guard Spencer Dinwiddie being added to the starting lineup is notable. This would likely mean wing Reggie Bullock will be returning to a bench role, after starting 37 regular season games last season, and playing a heavy role as a starter in all 18 playoff games. The projected starters would then be a backcourt of Doncic and Dinwiddie, along with Dorian Finney-Smith, Wood, and McGee.

With training camp still months away, so much will still develop with this roster. But if that starting lineup holds true the Mavericks may have to address a gap in ballhandling off the bench next season.

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