The Dallas Mavericks held training camp all week on campus at the
University of North Texas. This week, they capped off training camp by
holding a scrimmage that was open to UNT students, faculty, and staff.
Camp was closed all week to the students, and media members (including
DraftExpress) were allowed in the last 30 minutes of each practice, so
this was the first opportunity for people to get a look at the new
additions to the Mavs roster.
After losing in the NBA finals just 4 months ago, Dallas made some
roster adjustments during the off-season. Marquis Daniels
was traded to
Indiana, and the Mavericks added veteran talent to try and put together
a championship run this season. Anthony Johnson
and Greg Buckner
type of veteran players who know how to fit in and play a role, and Devean George
brings his championship experience from the Lakers.
Since the practices were closed all week, UNT students were lined up
early to try and get a good seat to watch the Mavs scrimmage. Most of
the arena was full by the time the players took the court, and in a
building with a capacity of 14,000, it was hard to hear what the person
next to you was saying.
The Mavericks divided their players into two teams, and played two 12
minute halves. After three team fouls in a half, the bonus would take
effect. Though the scrimmage didnt really provide any indication of
what Dallas Mavericks basketball will look like this season, it was a
good opportunity to check out some of the younger players the Mavs have
First round draft pick Maurice Ager
looked solid throughout the
scrimmage. Early on, he made a nice move to the left off a pick and
roll, and knocked down the 19 foot jumper off the dribble. He should be
a very good shooter in the NBA because of his consistent stroke and
ability to get his shot off quickly. Ager is the type of player who
appears to be more suited to the NBA than the college game. He has the
athletic ability to get up and down the court well, good hang time and
the ability to absorb contact when slashing to the hoop. He should get
plenty of open looks in the Mavs offense.
Dallas has two open roster spots, and 4 guys fighting for an NBA job.
Point guards Jose Juan Barea
and Darius Washington
both hope to get one
of the spots. The other players vying for a contract are guard Pat
Carroll and forward Ndudi Ebi
. Assuming Dallas is going to only keep one
of these point guards, they have a very hard decision to make. Both
Barea and Washington made strong cases for themselves at the scrimmage.
Barea did a fantastic job of controlling the tempo of the game, and
created some nice looks for his teammates. He made quick decisions, and
was able to keep the ball moving to the right place at the right time.
Though he was pressured full court nearly every time he had the ball,
Barea didnt turn the ball over once. He uses his ability to changes
speeds very effectively, which allowed him to get into the lane despite
the fact that he isnt super quick or athletic. Once in the lane, Barea
had good enough court vision to find the open man. Though he did have
one nice finish inside, his lack of explosiveness will limit how
effectively hell be able to finish in the NBA. Barea finished the
scrimmage with 7 points on 3-5 from the field, and 3 assists. He played
outstanding defense throughout, though he might struggle in this area
against some of the bigger point guards in the NBA.
Washington scored the ball very effectively in the scrimmage, and
displayed a nice range of offensive tools. Off the dribble he drew a
number of fouls going to the hoop, and he displayed his outside shooting
ability on more than one occasion. Washington led the scrimmage in
scoring with 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the field, with his only
miss being from the 3-point line. Despite his knack for scoring,
Washington struggled to get the team into the offense at times, and made
a few bad decisions which led to turnovers. He will need to become much
quicker with his decision making, because the shot clock is only 24
seconds in the NBA, and point guards have to get the team into the
offense right away. The Mavericks offense revolves around a lot of one
on one scoring, and Washington fits in better with the team
stylistically, but it will be hard to pass on Bareas ability to create
looks for teammates.
Neither Pat Carroll nor Ndudi Ebi
displayed anything spectacular to set
themselves apart from the other players. Carroll is a nice three point
shooter, but will need to work on a lot of other things if he wants to
stick in the NBA. Ebi made some shots from mid-range, including a
fadeaway off the dribble, but he turned it over too many times, and
played very out of control. Hes the exact same player now that entered
the league three years ago out of high school, and at some point hell
need to figure out how to put his talent to use in a game.
Judging from the scrimmage, Barea and Washington were by far the players
who most deserved the last two roster spots for the Mavs. Both would be
worth signing and developing for a few years in the NBDL. If the Mavs
decide against signing a point guard, both Carroll and Ebi have a chance
at a roster spot. Ebi isnt eligible to play in the D-League since he
already has 2 years of NBA experience, so if the plan is to develop
somebody in the NBDL, Carroll would have to be the choice.
The final younger player who the Mavericks are pretty high on is Pops Mensah-Bonsu
, who stayed back at the team hotel with a respiratory infection. As an undrafted rookie free agent, Mensah-Bonsu was given a partially guaranteed contract. From what I've been told, Pops will get every opportunity to prove himself to the Mavs' front office, and there is a good chance we see him on assigned to Fort Worth in the NBDL this season.