Not that there was much mystery, but coach Rick Carlisle acknowledged after the team’s intrasquad scrimmage Saturday that Nelson would get the first crack at the starting role.
“When we were recruiting him this summer, I told him we were looking for the best guy to be a starter for us,” Carlisle said of Nelson. “I really like Harris off the bench. That said, I think Harris is one of our three or four best players. But we’ve had a history here of bringing some of our better guys off the bench.
“At this point, Devin and I have talked about it and continue to talk about it. He’s willing to do anything. He wants to be a Maverick and wants to win.
“I like Jameer in that spot and Felton, he’s going to be out the first four games. So if there were some tea leaves here, that’s what it may look like. But it’s early to commit to anything. We got to see how it goes in games.”
Nelson, who averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 assists in the previous 10 years of his career with the Orlando Magic, provides leadership and perimeter shooting that should make him a good fit in a starting five that will also include shooting guard Monta Ellis, small forward Chandler Parsons, power forward Dirk Nowitzki and center Tyson Chandler.
The Mavs want to keep the speedy Harris as a sparkplug off the bench, in part because he established such good chemistry with reserve center Brandan Wright last season. Felton, who will sit out the first four games as punishment to his gun-related legal problems from last season, has started all but 55 of his 667 career games. However, he said he has no problem coming off the bench for the Mavs and figures to get minutes at both guard positions, as will Harris.
“We’re looking to come out here and try to win some games,” Felton said. “Whatever my role is, I’m going to accept it and I’m looking forward to it.”