The Dallas Mavericks decided to go all-in on taking care of their own. While strengthening the Dallas Mavericks bench unit, they even chose the option to bring back a familiar face, Seth Curry. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, went on record saying that they had their sights on Charlotte Hornets free-agent Kemba Walker as option A. But once the Boston Celtics swooped in and stole Walker off the market quickly, it was time for plan B.
Dallas found themselves moving on from plan B to plan C after a few days wait of a Danny Green commitment. This was due to the “Kawhi Bomb,” that shook the NBA in a drastic way that the Las Vegas earthquake wasn’t the most significant rumble on earth that day. Kawhi Leonard’s decision ultimately influenced Green to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers over the Mavericks. Now that the dust has settled and the roster seems to be set with one active spot left. The Mavericks are going to be a potential problem for some teams that lack depth from the bench players.
The Dallas Mavericks’ Bench
Maxi Kleber was a big winner in Free Agency this summer. Kleber inked a four-year contract pushing 36 million dollars. That’s a pretty hefty pay raise considering he entered the league as a 25-year-old rookie with no guarantee on making the cut after his first year.
Kleber, who was a relatively unknown prospect out of Wurzburg, Germany, earned his minutes in Rick Carlisle’s strict rotation after playing exceptional basketball in the preseason of 2017. Becoming a fan favorite, and even starting 36 out of 72 games in his rookie season, Kleber played most of his minutes at the power forward position.
By playing more minutes at center last season, Kleber will enter the season in a battle with Boban Marjanovic in a center by committee approach. While Dwight Powell will most likely have the edge to start due to his contract. Maxi Kleber should have a fair shot at gaining even more minutes than last year, by being able to play both the four and five positions.
Entering the league, Maxi Kleber was seen as a classic stretch four that can only shoot the three and post up. But he can also defend the paint quite well. Per 36 minutes, Kleber averages 1.9 blocks and eight rebounds per game. Kleber isn’t the greatest three-point shooter, but he can knock shots down when it counts. Mavericks fans can expect to see him off the bench to relieve Powell of his duties at the end of the first quarter.
Boban Marjanovic is an interesting character. The loveable giant inked a deal with the Mavericks for seven million dollars over two seasons. Marjanovic is going to be the last out of the pen for the center position. Or he will mainly be used in a tall-ball line-up with Kristaps Porzingis.
At nearly 31 years old, fans shouldn’t expect the big man to break any career records with the Mavericks. The interesting fact is that historically Boban Marjanovic is an incredibly efficient player. With a career per 36 minutes stat line of 22.7 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. There is no doubt that he will make an impact in the 10 to 15 minutes per game he will suit up for in 2019.
Nothing has been officially reported about the starting small forward spot yet. But in all likelihood, Tim Hardaway Jr. should be the expected starter. On the bench, there is one raw prospect still finding his way in the league and a returning veteran that has established himself. Dorian Finney-Smith was also one of the restricted free agents that Donnie Nelson decided to take care of. Re-signing for 12 million dollars over three years, Finney-Smith accepted a team-friendly deal that would be easy to move if a deal were to ever be on the table.
Dorian Finney-Smith is a solid defender that has limited scoring potential. Undrafted out of the University of Florida, Finney-Smith has gained more minutes in each of his first three seasons. He is a very flexible player who can contribute off the bench or in the starting lineup. Expect Finney-Smith to average around 20 to 25 minutes per game this coming season.
Justin Jackson is a player that played well down the stretch after being sent to the Mavericks at the trade deadline from the Sacramento Kings. The lean and long-armed forward started 11 games out of the 29 he appeared in this past season with Dallas. Jackson shot the ball well and fit right in by quickly gaining chemistry with the team. Bulking up and filling out is going to help him develop the flexibility to play both forward positions. Standing at 6’10”, he has plenty of height to play down low. Realistically, Jackson should probably be expected to get around 15 to 20 minutes when active.
Jalen Brunson and J.J. Barea
Rick Carlisle and hoarding guards is a pretty common occurrence throughout his coaching tenure with Dallas. Last season the Mavericks struck gold with the selection of Jalen Brunson in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft. After J.J. Barea ruptured his Achilles in January, Brunson stepped up and filled in entirely. Barea is still recovering from a significant injury and is going to be out for some time. He signed a contract for one season. It’s rumored that the 2019 season would be the 35-year-olds final hoorah.
Dallas Mavericks fans should get used to Jalen Brunson filling the shoes of Barea’s role for at least the next two seasons. Brunson is comparable in almost every way, including size and style of play. Getting crafty with the ball is one of his talents to make up for the lack of height. The idea going forward is to have Brunson as a sixth man along with Seth Curry as the seventh man to relieve Delon Wright and Luka Doncic.
Seth Curry is a valuable player and is no stranger to the Mavericks’ organization. After having a stellar playoff performance in the Western Conference Finals for the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavericks made contact and signed him to a multi-year contract worth around 29 million. Curry rankled in the top four of three-point field goal percentage last season at 45 percent from downtown. He doesn’t have the talent of his older brother, who is a future hall of fame player. But shooting is what teams need in 2019, and it runs naturally in the Curry family.
Ryan Broekhoff started his NBA career last season as an older rookie from Australia. Broekhoff has a guaranteed salary of about two million dollars and will most likely get limited minutes again. Also excelling at three-point shooting, fans should count on seeing him in a three-point focused lineup with Seth Curry and Luka Doncic.
The projection for the 2019 Dallas Mavericks will be improved from last season’s transition phase, after a complete overhaul of the roster at the trade deadline and adding a few new faces in free agency. The new Mavericks are going to make some noise for the seventh and eighth seed in the playoff race, and the improved depth on the bench will only strengthen the odds.
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