Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Seth Curry will be out indefinitely with a stress reaction in his left tibia, according to recent reports.
Curry was slated to start alongside rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. in the backcourt for Dallas. But there is “no timetable” on a return for Curry, who had career-highs in nearly every major statistical category last season.
If Curry was healthy, the Mavericks would have likely played Wesley Matthews at small forward with Harrison Barnes at power forward. Dirk Nowitzki was going to play center and big man Nerlens Noel was going to come off the bench.
Head coach Rick Carlisle spoke about Noel during the team media day (via ESPN):
“I basically said to them that I’m not sure that he’s going to start. At this point in time, Dirk at the 5 position is probably the best scenario for Dirk and for our team, and I just don’t think that Dirk is a guy that’s going to come off the bench as long as I’m here. So there’s a very good chance that Nerlens will come off the bench. Look, he said he’s good with it.”
However, with Curry no longer expected to play to start the season, the team will have some interesting decisions to make.
Even though Yogi Ferrell has played well in the past, he is undersized even for the point guard position and should not be considered a replacement for Curry.
NBA veteran JJ Barea has not played more than 24 minutes per night since 2012, which was the only time in his career he has been on the court for more than half the game.
Devin Harris is expected to play at small forward for the team next year. The 34-year-old journeyman has started just three games in his last four seasons, including zero in his most recent two campaigns with Dallas.
If the team stays with its current roster, they can slide Harris in to replace Curry until the former Duke guard recovers from his injury. But they have another option that involves more playing time for Noel.
Smith can stay at point guard with Matthews sliding down to shooting guard, where he has played in the past. Even though Barnes has proven himself as a more effective power forward, he has notable experience at small forward as well.
Nowitzki can play power forward with Noel as the starting center for the Mavericks. Even though it does not maximize the potential for Barnes, it’s likely the best option for the team without Curry available each night.
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