• The Mavs are looking forward to Nerlens Noel‘s return from a thumb injury, with coach Carlisle saying “I do think he’s going to be back after the break and I’m looking forward to getting him out there.

    Carlisle added “[i]t’s an opportunity for us as we move along here to look at potential young groups that could be playing together into the future to see the viability, the chemistry, those kinds of things.” It’s a nice thought but Noel is headed for unrestricted free agency and his tenure in Dallas has been pretty rocky. Unless they completely reverse course and give him tons of minutes, you’d have to imagine that Noel wants to try his hand for a different team next season. As for now, Carlisle says the Mavs “want to get him healthy, get him back and try to get him a good 20 or so games, if we can.” That won’t mean much if his minutes are minuscule, but it’s at least a promising start. Dirk Nowitzki has been playing at center this year but could be shut down, leaving just a surging Dwight Powell (who’s probably better suited at the four) and Salah Mejri in the mix for center minutes. Noel can be an elite source of defensive stats in the proper playing time so he’s a decent speculative add in deeper leagues.

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