I ASKED Dallas Mavs coach Rick Carlisle how he felt about the production his team has received from the center spot in this series.
Mr. Carlisle said: "I don't know the numbers off the top of my head."
Here you go: Brendan Haywood is averaging 3 points and 3.5 rebounds in the first two games.
Ian Mahinmi averages 7.5 points and 4.5 boards.
Third center Brandan Wright, who provided some energy in limited minutes during the regular season, appears lost so far.
Carlisle continued: "Our centers combined were very productive during the regular season and were a positive factor for us. They have done some good things in this series and we want those guys to be active and generate extra possessions for us and have a physical presence. They are very clear on what we are asking of them."
After watching starting center Haywood play 10 minutes and collect 2 points and no rebounds in Game 2, and then seeing former Mavs center Tyson Chandler win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, it has become rather apparent that Ian Mahinmi is the better man in the middle for the Mavs.
The Mavs never run a set play for their center, and if that guy scores it's on putbacks or bunnies. They want defense, rebounding and high effort. They get that from Ian Mahinmi.
He's more active. He can cover more ground. He's more athletic. His upside his higher. Haywood is a decent bruiser type off the bench, but appears to be easily taken out of the game.
"It all started early on in training camp when we knew Tyson wasn't coming back. I knew my role was going to be bigger and throughout the year I have been getting more and more confidence," Mahinmi TOLD ME. "I am comfortable in those situations now. I feel the confidence of my coaches and my teammates now."
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