Although much will be made of the battle for minutes in the Dallas Mavericks’ backcourt come the start of training camp on Oct. 1, there appears to be an emerging competition brewing at the small forward spot as well.
Friday, the Mavericks announced the signing of 6-9 forward Devin Ebanks to bring the roster tally to 19 players. The 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft will now compete for a spot on the regular-season roster after averaging 3.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 63 career games for the Los Angeles Lakers. But, with veterans Shawn Marion and Vince Carter already ahead of him on the depth chart and Jae Crowder looking to make a leap to stardom in his second season, Ebanks will have plenty of work to do in order to stand out.
In Marion, the Mavs already have their defensive catalyst and leading rebounder for the past two seasons after the 14-year vet finished the ’12-13 schedule posting averages of 12.1 points and 7.8 rebounds a game. The 35-year-old and four-time All-Star also returns as one of the team’s veteran leaders in the locker room, hungry to get back to the playoffs after missing out on the postseason two seasons removed from claiming the first title in franchise history.
The 6-foot-6 Carter, who averaged 13.4 points while playing 81 of 82 games last season, also figures to reassume his sixth man role, likely seeing more time at the 3 with new additions Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Wayne Ellington and rookie Ricky Ledo all expected to grab most of the minutes at shooting guard.
Meanwhile, after starting 16 games and appearing in 78 outings during his rookie campaign, Crowder hopes to once again crack Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle’s rotation, vowing to improve on his play from a season ago while averaging 5.0 points and 2.4 boards a game but shooting only 38.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.
Still, with the competition for minutes yet to play out, all bets are off as Carlisle tries to find the right combination of players to build a power in the Western Conference.