DALLAS — Although he didn’t see much time on the court for the Dallas Mavericks during his rookie campaign, swingman Ricky Ledo says don’t count him out when divvying up minutes in the backcourt this upcoming season.
Ledo appeared in just 11 games for the Mavericks during the 2013-14 season after sitting out a year of basketball at Providence. He averaged just 1.7 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three-point range in limited playing time for the Mavs. But, after averaging 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 39 appearances for the Mavericks’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Texas Legends, Ledo could be primed and ready for a much more productive season following a strong summer-league showing.
“I think this will be like one of the biggest summers in my career,” Ledo confessed. “I’ve been in the NBA for a year now and I’m not a rookie anymore. So, just to show all the hard work that I’ve done and where it’s going to go. … Show that I can be a great team player and just show what I can do to my best ability.”
Entering the league as the 43rd pick in the 2013 draft, Ledo will come to training camp well aware that he’ll have to impress Mavs coach Rick Carlisle in order to make his way into the rotation. However, after showcasing his all-around skill set at the Las Vegas Summer League, Ledo could immediately see time backing up starting shooting guard Monta Ellis.
Concluding summer-league play by filling up the stat sheet with 15 points, four rebounds and nine assists, Ledo helped lead the Mavericks to a blowout 88-62 win over Phoenix to finish with a 3-2 record. In five games, Ledo averaged 15.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals a contest, showing he can do a little bit of everything. And although his shot selection is still in doubt after connecting on just 32.4 percent from the field, Ledo’s ability to create for others is certainly not in question.
“I just took what they gave me,” Ledo said of his summer performance. “I slowed it down. The major thing with me is slowing things down and just seeing it, so I slowed down and I saw my teammates. I got to find a lot of my teammates on great passes.”
The Mavs’ backcourt is expected to be crowded thanks to the re-signing of Devin Harris and offseason additions of veterans Raymond Felton and Jameer Nelson to create a logjam at point guard. With that said, Carlisle could look to Ledo to help relieve Ellis at shooting guard this season after the cat-quick veteran averaged the eighth-most minutes in the league last season, sweating out 36.9 minutes a game.
Ledo could also be called upon to step up after former sixth man Vince Carter’s free-agent departure to Memphis, leaving a void in instant offense off the Dallas bench. Either way, the 21-year-old says he’s ready to rise to the occasion in Year 2.
“It’s just a confidence issue,” Ledo explained. “Last year, it was a different feeling. Now, I feel more comfortable and I had a year under my belt to get back to my game shape and get back to form. … I can be a valuable asset to the team. They made a good pick in me.
“Just my overall game. I can pass the ball, I can play one through three and just keep pushing it, being a young person who just keeps working hard. It’s a man’s game and I had to work on my body, get stronger and overall just slow everything down and just take what the defense gives you. Just take what they give you, don’t be in a rush, wait for my screens, wait for my player to get hit and just come off screens aggressive.”