Shawn Marion sidelined for 3 games with sprained MCL, Jae Crawford could start
The 34-year-old Shawn Marion sustained the MCL injury during the Dallas Mavericks’ Monday night win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Shawn Marion will stay behind with teammate Dirk Nowitzki, who is listed on the injured reserve while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, during the Dallas Mavericks’ road games at the end of the week.
The 4-time All-Star Shawn Marion averaged 8.0 pints, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game till early in Week 2 of the season. The Dallas Mavericks have been playing aggressively on the offense, moving the ball and the starters have been stretching the court. Through four early games in the season, the Dallas Mavericks are 3-1, averaging 108.3 points on scoring per game which ranks them Top 3 in the league.
However, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will have to revaluate the starting lineup until Shawn Marion is deemed fit to return. Rick Carlisle already had Elton Brand fill in for All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Wright, who’s averaged 12.3 points on a 78.6 percent shooting as well as 4.5 rebounds this season played center through the last four games. Now, rookie Jae Crowder has emerged as the most likely replacement at Shawn Marion’s spot while Rick Carlisle is also seriously considering veteran wingman Vince Carter.
Although Vince Carter started 40 games last season and is a solid contributor, his new role could severely deplete a bench squad that’s struggled to match starting guard O.J. Mayo’s scoring numbers. Meanwhile as an undersized small forward, Jae Crowder fits into Shawn Marion’s shoes, while allowing Rick Carlisle to maintain the rest of his initial rotation.
However, it all depends on Rick Carlisle’s understanding of whether the 22-year-old Jae Crowder can burden the load. Jae Crowder had been in a highly energetic form during the early returns, averaging 16.4 points, 5.1rebounds and 1.4 steals during 36 minutes per game performances. The 6-foot-6 Jae Crowder still boasts the same defensive skills, averaging 8.8 points and 2.8 rebounds during 19.3 minutes per game so far this season.
The point seemed pretty moot during Tuesday’s practice as Jae Crowder suited up in the starters’ white, suggesting he could be get lot of minutes filling in for the Dallas Mavericks’ top wing defender Shawn Marion.
“I feel like I still have to play with a lot of heart, a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work, a lot of hustle on both ends of the court,” stated Jae Crowder. “And let the offense come to me. Don’t try to force anything and play off of those older guys.”
Jae Crowder’s impressive performance during the preseason even landed the rookie in a moment of rarity a spot on Rick Carlisle’s rotation.
Rick Carlisle was again impressed by Jae Crowder’s response when he chose to keep the rookie of the rotation during the first half.
“(He was) 100 percent ready to go when his name was called in the second half. A lot of times, rookies in those situations,” said Rick Carlisle, “they’ll kind of shut down mentally if they miss a rotation for whatever reason. He was just as ready as he’s ever been.”