Who Should Lead the Mavs Second Unit?

When it comes to scoring on the Mavericks, Luka Dončić leads the team in that department with 33.6 points per game (PPG). His 33.6 PPG also leads the league in scoring, unfortunately for the Mavericks, that’s where most of their offense comes from.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood are sharing second-option duties on this team, Dinwiddie is averaging 16.2 PPG, while Wood is putting up 16.8 PPG. Dinwiddie is regularly seen as a starter alongside Dončić while Wood has come off the bench in his 19 games played so far this season. Fans have clamored that Wood should also be starting for the Mavs and Wood himself has asked to see more playing time.

“I would love to play more. I’ve voiced that several times, but I just play my role,” Wood said.

Although it may seem like a good idea to have all three of the team’s top scorers start, due to the lack of bench scoring, it is best to have one of the potent scorers come off the bench in order to keep the momentum going when the starters aren’t on the floor leading the second unit.

If Dončić, Dinwiddie, and Wood are all in the starting line-up then they will be taking away points from each other and the offense will be diminished off the bench, with only four Mavericks averaging double-digits in scoring this season, Hardaway being the fourth with 11.6 PPG.

Both Dinwiddie and Wood have experience coming off the bench. Dinwiddie came off the bench when he was on his first NBA team, the Detroit Pistons, when he was on the Brooklyn Nets for several years, and even last year with the Mavs. Wood has regularly come off the bench on every team he’s been on except the Houston Rockets where he was the team’s starting center.

There are several benefits to having either one come off the bench.

Dinwiddie Leading the Second Unit

Dinwiddie has been in the league for eight years and is seen as a veteran figure in the league. His NBA experience and leadership skills can help him be the leader off the bench that the team news. Having him come off the bench will help the offensive momentum continue even when Dončić and the starters aren’t on the floor. With Dinwiddie coming off the bench, it would give Wood, who is currently the team’s third-highest scorer, the opportunity to start. 

One thing the Mavericks lack is an offensive big man, which is what Wood brings to the table. Having him start with Dončić would give the Mavericks a front-court and back-court player that can score on the regular.

Wood Leading the Second Unit

There is also the mindset of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ in which case would keep Wood as the sixth man of the team and the leader of the second unit. Having Wood as the sixth man would make it easier for him to become the main offensive threat off the bench and the second-highest scorer on the team.

Additionally, as Wood’s scoring improves, it will raise his market value. This is a contract year for Wood, so him dominating on the offensive end would be a benefit for the Mavericks and him. Wood’s high-scoring ability off the bench could very much help the Mavericks rack up wins, and if they were to trade him while his value is high, they could receive a good package for him. Success off the bench would also benefit Wood greatly, as he can expect to receive a great deal of money when the offseason comes around.

Worst Option

Having Dinwiddie and Wood both coming off the bench wouldn’t be a good idea either. Even though it would mean more offense coming off the bench, it would also mean Dončić will have to carry even more of the offensive load than he is already carrying. Not only would Dončić have to put in more strenuous work and wear down his body, but it would also make it more difficult for him to score, as the opposing team will jump on him like a pack of hyenas as soon as he touches the ball, with little worry of another Mavs starter scoring a basket.

Dinwiddie Should be the Leader of the Second Unit

Dinwiddie would be the better fit as the leader of the second unit. He has past experience coming off the bench and being a leader, so it’s not like it would be something completely new to him. As the No. 1 option off the bench and as the primary ball handler when the starters aren’t on the floor, he would be able to dictate the game’s pace. Having a guard and a big man as your two primary scorers in the starting line-up is a better option than having two scoring guards and a limited-to-average scorer as a big man. Dinwiddie’s veteran experience and basketball IQ make him an ideal captain for the second unit.

Both Dinwiddie and Wood possess the skills needed to win Sixth Man of the Year but it’s up to Coach Kidd to take a look at the Mavs offense and figure out who’s best to lead the team’s second unit.

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