Of course, Carlisle’s “do not play” decisions have been based on injury to rest recovering players, yet he also is choosing wisely which healthy ones to rotate among games.
Yes, the Mavs were set back at the beginning of the preseason when important members of the roster had gotten hurt and needed time to heal, including guards Jose Calderon, Devin Harris and Shane Larkin, as well as center/forward Brandan Wright.
Calderon strained his left hamstring during the first week of Training Camp, following Media Day hype. Harris, who recently returned to Dallas, where he started his career with the league, is sidelined for his left toe that underwent surgery, and he expects to return on the court in December or January. Larkin fractured his right ankle during NBA Summer League. Wright suffered from a non-displaced left shoulder injury during practice almost two weeks ago, and his time away is indefinite.
During the second week of the preseason, Carlisle gave each of my Tipoff Trio one game off apiece. These three players, guard/forward Vince Carter, small forward Shawn Marion and power forward Dirk Nowitzki, all are at least 35-years-old and have played 15+ years of pro ball.
First, he scheduled regular starting SF Marion a break when Dallas hosted the Orlando Magic, on Monday, Oct. 14. Next, he rested sensational sixth man Carter when the Mavericks visited the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Championship-hungry Carter deserved that night off and added more acclaim to his nickname of “Vinsanity” after an explosive performance during their preseason road opener at the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Finally, he did not play regular starting PF Nowitzki when they continued on the road against the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday, Oct. 19.
The Mavs wrapped up last week with one home loss and two road wins. Marion, a.k.a. “The Matrix,” paced in points as the leading scorer in Indy after resting the previous game. Even without Nowitzki, their showdown versus Charlotte treated them well with Calderon’s Dallas debut as the team’s starting PG.
However, when Nowitzki resumed his starting post as the Mavs returned to Texas to play at the Houston Rockets‘ Toyota Center, on Monday, Oct. 22, he was ejected. Fellow MFFL (Mavs Fan for Life) and I agree that this was completely uncalled for.
We shall see whom else Carlisle does not play tonight, at Dallas’ first home game in over a week, when the Mavericks face the Atlanta Hawks, who they will host again one week from today when this regular season tips off. I hope that the Mavs forge a “W” to send the Hawks flying back to the ATL.
Meanwhile, the Mavs must do their best with the players who they have left on their roster after releasing aggressive PF Renaldo Balkman, DUI-delinquent SF Devin Ebanks, shooting guard D.J. Kennedy and center Fab Melo.