When Luka Doncic sat out on Wednesday vs. Houston, it gave backup Mavericks guards Facundo Campazzo and Frank Ntilikina a rare opportunity to see the court. Both players, who were only on the floor in garbage time in the first 13 games of the season, established season highs in minutes, with Campazzo logging 23 and Ntilikina playing 12.
Although Dallas lost the game and the duo was a combined 3-of-11 from the floor, both Campazzo and Ntilikina had positive net ratings on the night, and head coach Jason Kidd said before the game that it would be a boon if the team could rely on one or both players to help reduce the workloads being carried by Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“We’re looking for them to run the team,” Kidd said of Campazzo and Ntilikina, according to Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. “We got to get other guys involved, especially with Spencer and LD and the load they’re carrying now. We got to find other options to get them a little rest during the game than just running those guys 40 minutes every night.”
Doncic was back in the lineup for Friday’s blowout win over Denver, so Campazzo and Ntilikina weren’t part of the regular rotation. However, the one-sided nature of the game allowed Kidd to get them on the floor in the fourth quarter, limiting Doncic and Dinwiddie to 35 and 26 minutes, respectively.
Here’s more on the Mavs:
- Christian Wood earned praise on Wednesday from both his former head coach (Stephen Silas) and his current head coach. As Sefko details, Silas said he was “proud” of the way Wood has matured over the course of his NBA career, while Kidd lauded the big man for his willingness to accept a reserve role so far in Dallas. “He’s done everything that we’ve asked, he’s been great,” Kidd said. “You look at accepting his role, coming off the bench. He and Timmy (Hardaway Jr.) could easily start for us. But we felt like having those two coming off the bench is something that gives us the advantage. And C-Wood has done an incredible job.”
- Even though Wood isn’t starting or finishing games, is he the perfect pick-and-roll partner the Mavericks have long sought for Doncic? Michael Pina of The Ringer explores that question, noting that the team has a 123.1 offensive rating with Doncic and Wood on the court together. That’s the 13th-best mark out of 539 duos who have played at least 150 minutes together this season.
- JaVale McGee joined the Mavericks as a free agent this past summer after the team promised him its starting center job, but he was moved to the bench after just seven starts and hasn’t seen much action as of late. Fortunately, McGee is taking the demotion in stride, tweets Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. “If they feel I shouldn’t be starting, I’ll cheer from the bench,” McGee said. “If they feel like I should start or however many minutes they think I should play, I’m going to play them my hardest.”