December 29th 2016 at 9:51pm CST by Dana Gauruder
Mavs center Andrew Bogut is willing to come off the bench, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports. That would allow coach Rick Carlisle to start Dirk Nowitzki at center. “He offered to come off the bench, if that’s a better situation for us,” Carlisle told Sefko. “You don’t often get a player of his stature offering to come off the bench for the betterment of the team. But because of his suggestion and this situation, we have that as an option.” Nowitzki faces difficult defense challenges playing power forward against more mobile players and is not used to coming off the bench. The downside is that Bogut is generally considered one of the league’s premier defensive big men.
In other news around the Western Conference:
- The Trail Blazers need to find improvement from within rather than seeking a solution on the open market, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com argues. Portland’s defensive issues stem from its conservative approach, which forces the second fewest turnovers in the league, Pelton continues. He also points out that the Blazers have to cut down on their penchant for fouling and improve their defensive rebounding. Injuries to forward Al-Farouq Aminu have also contributed to their defensive decline, Pelton adds.
- There will be no suspensions or fines regarding the altercation on Tuesday between Rockets forward Trevor Ariza and Mavs center Salah Mejri, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26. Ariza was ejected after taking exception to something that Mejri said. After the game, Ariza and some of his teammates tried unsuccessfully to confront Mejri outside the Dallas locker room. The game was also marred by eight technical fouls and two flagrant fouls.
- Backup point guard Ty Lawson is reviving his career with the Kings, as Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee examines in a column. Lawson has tenuous job security because of his non-guaranteed contract, Voisin notes, but he has become a big part of the Kings’ rotation. He averaged 15.5 points and 4.3 assists during a four-game winning streak that ended on Wednesday night. “He makes the game really easy for people and gets up and down the floor, and gets in the paint,” coach Dave Joerger told Voisin. “He’s playing really well. It’s been a successful week because of Ty Lawson.” Lawson’s $1,315,448 salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster beyond January 10.