On the Inside: Yogi Ferrell

2016-17 Exit Interview: Yogi Ferrell

Mavs G Yogi Ferrell addresses the media for exit interviews.

Over the next several weeks, we will publish end-of-season breakdowns for some of the key Mavericks as part of our “On the Inside” series. Imagine never having seen the players before, and this is the scouting report. Read all of them here.

The modern basketball revolution which has quickly swept across the NBA has left in its wake a few very important questions. Does an inability to shoot the 3-pointer disqualify a big man from playing power forward? Is there really such a thing as “shooting guard” anymore? And, most important of them all, what exactly is a point guard supposed to be these days?

It used to be that point guards simply didn’t shoot the ball. John Stockton never took even 12 shots per game in a single season. Steve Nash never attempted more than 13.6. Jason Kidd took more than 14 attempts just twice in 19 seasons. There are exceptions, of course — before Russell Westbrook averaged 30 and 10, Nate Archibald did it way back in 1973, and Oscar Robertson is 12th on the all-time scoring list. But, generally speaking, point guard has not been a scoring position — until now, that is.

Even three years ago, the thought was that a team could not win a championship with a point guard as its best player and best scorer. Stephen Curry put that notion to bed, and one year ago Kyrie Irving outdueled Curry by averaging 27.1 points in the Finals and hit the game-winner in Game 7. Westbrook averaged 31 points and a triple-double this season, and the MVP will probably go either to him or James Harden, who averaged 29 and 11 running point for the Rockets.

In this new NBA, the point guard position has experienced perhaps the most dramatic evolution of them all. The term “pass-first” point guard has suddenly left the lexicon, outside of Mark Cuban’s tongue-in-cheek description of Tony Romo before he joined the Mavs for the home finale. The closest example is probably Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, who averaged just 8.7 shots per game, which still tops seven of Stockton’s seasons.

So what, then, is a pure point guard? Is it one who strictly hunts for shots? Is it someone 6-foot-5 or shorter who can handle the ball? Is it someone who can excel in the pick-and-roll? I don’t believe it’s any one of those things, specifically. It’s all of those things, together, and then some.

“We want him to remain aggressive looking to score but just make the meat-and-potatoes plays,” Devin Harris said about Seth Curry late in the season, when the Mavs gave him some run at the 1. “If you see a guy, feed him. Get us in our offense and remain aggressive. It’s not easy for a young guy. But we’re better when he’s scoring.”

In the Mavericks’ offense, a point guard must simply run the offense. That’s a fairly vague responsibility, but at its core, running an offense means the ball-handler has the power to make the right play. Shoot it if you’re open or pass it if someone else is. Play with command, play under control, and keep the ball moving. Think the game, see the game, and make a play. It sounds easy, but it really isn’t: NBA point guards carry more responsibility now than perhaps ever before.

Harris was referring to Seth Curry in the above quote, but he easily could have said the same thing about Yogi Ferrell, as well.

Kia Western Conference Rookie Of The Month: Yogi Ferrell

Yogi Ferrell of the Dallas Mavericks is your Kia Western Conference rookie of the month.

Ferrell, who will turn 24 in May, just completed his first pro season after spending four years at Indiana. Think of how much the NBA game changed while he was in school: During his freshman season, only eight NBA point guards attempted at least 15 shots per game. This season, 13 did. Ferrell himself attempted 11.9 shots per 36 minutes with the Mavericks, which is more than Stockton ever attempted any season in his entire career.

He arrived to the NBA able to score the ball, there was no doubt about that: He finished top-6 in the Big Ten in scoring each of his last three years at Indiana, and he was averaging 18.7 points per game for the D-League’s Long Island Nets before receiving a 10-day offer from the Mavericks. He also demonstrated in four years with the Hoosiers that he was a high-IQ kind of player who could play within a system and keep his teammates involved. He could both score and pass, and the Mavericks asked him to do both right off the bat, and a month later he was the full-time starting point guard and the Western Conference Rookie of the Month.

Ferrell took many strides this season as a developing player, but perhaps his most important improvement came in the closing weeks of the season, when all of a sudden it looked like something clicked and he gained command of the offense. That quality — “command” — is almost purely a theoretical concept. There’s no real way to measure it, but you know it when you see it, and if you watched closely in March and April you saw that Ferrell had it.

Taking command of the offense

Command is more than just handing out assists and playing like a quarterback, but Ferrell did that to a large degree this season. In his 36 appearances for Dallas, the Mavericks were 12-8 when he dished out 5+ assists, per Basketball-Reference. Dallas was 17-19 when he turned it over three or fewer times, but 16-13 when he gave it away twice or less, and a very respectable 10-7 when he made just one or fewer turnovers. But it’s about more than mere numbers in a box score.

Command is about bringing everything together — speed, athleticism, vision, smarts, deception — to put yourself and your teammates in positions to be successful. It’s being in total control. Here’s how Ferrell got there.

There was never a question that Ferrell had next-level quickness. He arrived to the NBA with an explosive first step and above-average straight-line speed which, when used in combination, allow him to get to the rim against pretty much anyone. That gives him the ability to make spectacular plays look kind of easy.

But the NBA is full of players who are at least as nearly as fast as Ferrell, and there are big men and wings who can sniff out smaller, quicker guys who play at one speed. Their anticipation can result in crowded lanes, forced jump passes, active hands in passing lanes, and — especially if the point guard is playing faster than his teammates — icky turnovers.

Ferrell can’t always control where his teammates are or what they’re doing, but it’s his job as a point guard to read the floor and create a good opportunity, even if that means slowing down so that he can take full advantage of a screen, or so the big man can dive to the basket. Not long ago a point guard was the symphony’s conductor, but in today’s NBA he’s the first-chair violin, floating on top of the supporting players. His sound must soar above everyone else’s, but he’s still got to stay in time with the tubas. It’s not an easy job.

Very early in his time with the Mavericks, you could see the gears spinning as he’d make reads. You knew he was trying to make plays — that he was trying not only to look for his own shots, but to set up his teammates for easy shots — but at the highest level of competition in the world, you can’t afford to over-think. You can’t make an early pass to a big man 15 feet from the basket just because his man takes one step toward you.

Now, to be sure, the “right basketball play” is ultimately to send a pass to Dwight Powell. And, to be fair, this was only Ferrell’s second game as a Maverick, just 48 hours after he signed a 10-day contract. But the pass simply arrived too early, forcing the big man into a situation where he had to collect a pass on the move, take a dribble, and put up a contested shot. (Ferrell scored 19 that night in a Mavericks win.) As the season progressed, and as he gained more experience, he learned mixing in a hesitation dribble and simply slowing down by a step or two can open things up so much more.

This is the same exact play run two months later. Watch as Ferrell takes a slight hesitation dribble and one more step into the lane to lull the defenders to sleep only for a fraction of a second. That quick herky-jerky move gave Nerlens Noel all the time he needed to get to the rim, and by that time both defenders had already committed to Ferrell.

Ferrell has lethal speed, but super-quick players don’t always need to get into the teeth of the defense to make a play. Sometimes, using the threat of a blow-by is enough to draw the center from the basket and gain the upper hand. That’s command.

Command is about manipulation, changing speeds, and using a combination of patience, cleverness, and aggression to complement your physical gifts. It’s when your brain, not your foot speed or your vertical leap, beats opponents. It’s when you move from the passenger’s seat into the driver’s seat.

Command is driving into a crowded lane against Giannis Antetokounmpo — perhaps the most physically imposing wing in the NBA — and attracting unbelievable amounts of attention to set up Harrison Barnes for a dunk.

In the play above, Ferrell uses an early Dirk Nowitzki screen to breeze into the lane six seconds into the shot clock. It would’ve been easy for him to launch toward the rim and seek out a foul, but trying to do that against two 7-footers is a risky proposition. Instead, Ferrell hesitates slightly to get Antetokounmpo on his hip, then knifes past Thon Maker and makes a banzai charge directly into Khris Middleton, which opens up Barnes under the rim. That’s a superior basketball play for a guy listed generously as 6 feet tall. There was never a chance that Ferrell was going to shoot the ball: He made that play for the team.

Why is command so important? It’s what separates similarly sized J.J. Barea from most other backup point guards in the NBA. Barea is a guy who is always under complete control of the offense, and that more than anything has helped him overcome his relative size deficiency for a decade. Even if he wasn’t making shots on any given night this season, the Mavericks were usually good when he played. For the third straight year, Dallas had a higher offensive rating with Barea on the floor than without him. Following his return from injury on March 10, the Mavs scored 109.5 points per 100 possessions with Barea on the floor versus just 97.1 points per 100 when he was on the bench. It’s not always reflected so obviously in on-off splits, but that gives you an idea of just how good Barea is at running the show, and Ferrell appears to be developing into that kind of player.

3-point threat

The rookie is quickly evolving into a legit NBA point guard. As he continues to gain command, he’ll be able to show off his most devastating weapon: his 3-point shot. Of the 24 rookies who attempted at least 100 3s this season, Ferrell finished fifth in 3-point percentage, at 38.6. He connected on a solid 40.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot treys. He was terrific at catching and shooting on the move, as well.

The most potent element of his shooting game, though, comes in transition, when he can race up the floor, stop on a dime, and let ’em fly.

You’ve got to be careful throwing around this comparison, but given his size, his shooting form, and his self-confidence, Ferrell is capable of having Westbrook-type flashes on the floor. He’s a point guard whose athleticism and occasionally irrational confidence allow him to make plays other guys his size simply cannot. In the sequence below, he plays a long outlet pass like a defensive back, then gets back down the floor and steps into a straightaway 3, holding his follow-through until it finds the net.

As teams wise up and begin to close out on him harder in the open floor or defend him more tightly in half-court situations, that can free up his driving game. He showed some potential as a finisher around the rim this season, mostly when sharing the floor with Nowitzki to help alleviate some pressure from opposing big men. As teams begin to focus more on him, Ferrell will have to use screens more effectively to create space and get to his spots. But he’s already shown he’s capable of figuring out the hardest part.

The long-range shot is more important than the around-the-rim stuff, though, at least in his immediate future. He came to the NBA with an “NBA skill,” as Rick Carlisle likes to call it. Young players must establish themselves as soon as possible, in any possible way. Ferrell’s nine-trey explosion on a Friday night in Portland gave him a reputation as a dead-eye 3-point shooter, and he backed it up for the rest of the season; he connected on 40.3 percent of his triples for the Mavericks, on 149 attempts. Below is a chart showing the most prolific 3-point shooters among rookies from Jan. 29, the date Ferrell debuted for Dallas.

Player Team 3-Pointers Made 3-Point Percentage
Buddy Hield Pelicans/Kings 74 41.1
Jamal Murray Nuggets 62 35.4
Yogi Ferrell Mavericks 60 40.3
Denzel Valentine Bulls 52 36.9
Dario Saric 76ers 50 28.4

Combined with his pesky full-court defense and ability to dodge screens on defense, Ferrell already has a defined skillset with plenty of room for growth. That’s what you hope to see in any rookie.

His shooting and high basketball IQ earned him a trip to the league, and later a starting job. But whether or not he ever becomes a full-time starter, his command and emerging ability to take control of the offense could make him a productive, valuable point guard in this league for many seasons to come.

Mavericks awarded DeAndre Liggins on waiver claim

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have been awarded guard DeAndre Liggins on a waiver claim. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Liggins (6-6, 209) was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He holds career averages of 2.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 9.8 minutes in 118 career games (20 starts) with Orlando, Oklahoma City, Miami and Cleveland.

Liggins most recently spent the majority of the year with the Cavaliers. This season in Cleveland, he saw action in 61 games (19 starts) and averaged 2.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 12.3 minutes per contest. The Cavaliers requested waivers on Liggins this past Sunday.

The Chicago native played three seasons at the University of Kentucky. As a junior, Liggins averaged 8.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 31.6 minutes as a starter while helping lead the Wildcats to the NCCA Final Four in Houston.

Liggins will wear number 14 for the Mavericks.

Tony Romo, the Maverick

Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys’ all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, is a Dallas Maverick. Or, at least, he’ll be one for a short period of time.

Romo will join the Mavs on the bench for Tuesday’s home finale. The 36-year-old retired from football earlier this month and is set to join the booth this fall, calling NFL games for CBS. But before that, he’ll join his long-time buddy Dirk Nowitzki for the final game of the Mavericks’ 2016-17 season.

A winner of 78 games for the Cowboys, third-most of any quarterback in franchise history, Romo also starred as a basketball player in high school. Former Maverick Caron Butler, who shared a spot on the All-Racine County (Wisconsin) boys’ basketball team in 1998, told ESPN he believes Romo could have been an NBA player.

“He was a really good football player, obviously, being a quarterback,” Butler told ESPN. “He was great at golf. And he was really good at basketball. Obviously it worked out for him with the football, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he would have made it playing basketball. He had a great feel for the game, man. And it’s not surprising. Golf is a cerebral game; you gotta have that mental component to conquer the course. And then football’s the same thing; you gotta be able to think on the fly and do all these things. And then basketball, I thought, all those components worked together.”

Former Maverick Quinn Cook interviewed Romo will the former was still playing college ball at Duke, and they played a friendly game of 1-on-1.

In addition to simply being a good player in high school, Romo has attended several Mavs home games per season for years now. It’s every fan’s dream to play for his favorite team, and now Romo will get to dress for the Mavericks, while the club and its fans will be able to honor the long-time Dallas QB.

He’ll address the media along with head coach Rick Carlisle Tuesday morning at 10:30. What, exactly, is going to happen? How will it shake out? What all do the Mavs have planned? Mum’s the word, but Carlisle has recommended everyone gets to the game no later than 7:15 to watch the pregame festivities.

Rick Carlisle plays piano on 103.3 FM ESPN

There are no words. Almost literally.

During his weekly appearance with Dennis and Cowlishaw on 103.3 FM ESPN, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle put his phone on speaker and played some of his favorite tunes on the piano, including Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is,” and more.

Listen to the full interview/concert below. Carlisle is not just one of the best basketball minds in the NBA, but he’s also a man of many talents — although, as he confesses, he can’t really even read music, outside of some chords here and there.

Cowlishaw & Dennis appear weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio.

Bleacher Report profiles Dirk Nowitzki and the generation of 4s who emulate him

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams wrote a feature on Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, taking a very interesting angle: Many fans understand his influence on the power forward position, but how many 4s in the league have taken something from the Big German’s game?

Perhaps most impressively of all, Minnesota’s sensational second-year big man Karl-Anthony Towns intensely studied Dirk’s tape over the All-Star break, looking for anything that could help him develop his outside shot. The thing that stood out more than anything else, in addition to his readiness to shoot, is Nowitzki’s grip on the ball.

“He’s always prepared,” Towns says. “He always takes his one-two step. He’s always generating a lot of power. Like Klay Thompson always takes a hop step, he’s always one-two stepping into the shot, and he’s always driving a lot of force, and he always generates a lot of power, always has his legs under him, and he always holds the ball differently than a lot of people. He spreads his hands out a lot.”

Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge, meanwhile, has modeled his game after Nowitzki as he’s grown older.

“Early in my career, I was more trying to be Tim [Duncan], Rasheed [Wallace] and KG [Kevin Garnett],” Aldridge says. “Later in my career, watching Dirk take his game to the next level and watching how he kind of fine-tuned it over time and made it better, that’s when I started to borrow some things, like the one-legged shot and just being OK with taking jump shots.

“Before he went to the Finals and really started to dominate by taking jump shots, it was kind of frowned on for a big to do that. But he kind of showed if you really worked on it and mastered it, you could be dominant by taking jump shots. … As I became less athletic and had to play smarter and use my skill level, I’ve taken even more from Dirk, to last longer and still be at a high level.”

Click here to read the full article. It’s always interesting to see a national take on Nowitzki’s impact and legacy, but it’s even cooler to hear directly from the players at the top of their position today. Dirk changed the NBA, and there’s now an entire generation of players who are who they are because of him.

Inside Harrison Barnes’ effort to move closer to ‘elite category’ of free throw-shooting wings

Harrison Barnes did something very unusual Sunday in Milwaukee: He took 10 free throws. In the fourth quarter.

Attempting 10 in an entire game is an uncommon feat in the NBA. Only Houston’s James Harden averages more than 9.2 trips to the line per game, according to NBA.com. Barnes, meanwhile, sits on a season average of just 3.4 free throw attempts per game, which ties for 57th. As a team, the Mavs attempt the fewest in the league.

In his last 20 games, however, he’s up to 4.3 attempts per game. During that time, in addition to his 10 attempts against the Bucks, Barnes attempted a career-high 14 against Phoenix. But even considering the improvement, that’s not an acceptable average to a perfectionist like Barnes.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive and get to the rim,” he told Mavs.com. “That’s the one consistent thing with great scorers: They always get to the free throw line. That’s something that I’ve struggled with doing this season. I’m definitely now just still trying to figure out ways, whether it’s attacking, trying to get to the line somehow.”

In general, most forwards don’t shoot a ton of free throws. Jimmy Butler leads them all with 9.0 attempts per game, and only eight other NBA forwards average even six attempts, according to NBA.com. Barnes is currently 21st in that group, but he’s eyeing a huge leap in the near future.

“If you can get six to eight, that’s the elite category,” he told Mavs.com.

To be clear, Barnes has demonstrated he has what it takes to become a great scorer. His per-game average hovered around 20 points all season long until the last few weeks, when the Mavericks have begun to scale back playing time for the heavy-minutes guys when possible in an effort to give more to the young players. And that’s without hardly getting to the line at all, and while enduring a poor start to the season from beyond the arc. (Barnes, however, has turned it around in that category since the All-Star break, shooting 38.9 percent from deep since the respite.) Maintain that 3-point efficiency and bump up his free throw attempts, and suddenly his average could jump three or even four points per game.

The 24-year-old has proven in his first season with the Mavericks that he’s a maniacal worker, obsessed with improving the most fundamental aspects of his game. The first thing he did upon signing with the Mavs last summer was work with Rick Carlisle in an empty gym in Ames to develop his footwork. He’s embraced the mid-post game that made Dirk Nowitzki famous and helped bring a title to Dallas. Barnes has also accepted the responsibility that comes with being the budding face of the franchise, ready to take over whenever his legendary teammate decides to hang ’em up for good.

If his past — albeit brief — track record in Dallas is any indication, rest assured that earning more free throws is toward the front of Barnes’ mind.

“He’s had a great year, and he’s responded to everything,” Carlisle said. “He wants to be one of the very best players in the league, and he does all the things that you need to do to get there. He’s committed, he’s very disciplined.”

For a player like Barnes, who relies more on technique and craft than blazing speed when attacking the basket, footwork is of the utmost importance. His balance makes his turnaround fadeaways and off-balance runner work, and that’s not something all scorers can do.

But the best of the best know how to turn potential disadvantageous situations into trips to the free throw line. Whether it takes supreme footwork or just sheer aggression to force a whistle, they find a way to get it done. For Barnes, that means turning a play like this:

Into something like this.

And instead of using more of a finesse finish against a smaller guard (like this):

Barnes can quickly feign a bully-ball back-down and get right to the basket.

“He’s learned to drive the ball very well this year, which is something he didn’t do a lot of at Golden State,” Carlisle said. “And he’s a great free throw shooter, and he’s proven he’s a clutch player. Him at the free throw line, which we saw a lot of down the stretch of the Milwaukee game, is a great situation for the Mavericks.”

There are many reasons why attempting more free throws and fewer contested 2s can be beneficial for a player. First, obviously, there’s the purely mathematical advantage: If Barnes, who shoots 86 percent from the line, can get to the free throw line four or five more times per game, that means four free points for the Mavericks. Those add up across an entire season.

“Four more free throws per game, just for the Mavs, and we’re in the sixth seed,” owner Mark Cuban said. “If we shoot five more, six more free throws per game, that’s basically five net-effective points, and we’re a completely different team.”

Then there’s the Xs-and-Os benefit. Barnes has already shown he can score in the mid-range, but if he can consistently both knock down 3s and drive the lane, he becomes a much more difficult player to defend off the ball. Do you close out hard on him? Do you let him shoot? Or do you try to do something in between?

And as he’s continued to develop confidence in his rim-attacking ability, Barnes has recently shown a willingness to pass up a potentially open 3-pointer in favor of a drive to the basket in search of contact.

Finally, free throws can have a psychological benefit to a player who’s missed a few straight shots.

“If you’re getting those (every) night, that can help you when you’re in a slump, when you’re trying to find some rhythm, knowing that you’re gonna get to the the free throw line and see two go in, and then move on from there,” Barnes told Mavs.com.

One of Dirk Nowitzki’s most legendary performances came in Game 1 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals, when he hit an NBA-record 24 free throws without a miss en route to scoring 48 points on just 15 field goal attempts. The Thunder simply did not have an answer for him that night.

In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win against Milwaukee, Barnes did his best Nowitzki impression, scoring 15 points in the frame on only two attempts. Obviously, there’s a massive difference between the regular season and conference finals, but Barnes’ 31 points on 13 shots overall that day stands out as one of the most efficient performances by anyone this season, and probably his best game as a Maverick.

The Mavericks hope their young star has plenty more where that came from moving forward, particularly in crunch time.

“Whether he wants it or not, he’s getting it,” Carlisle said. “He’s our guy. He was our guy earlier in the year, and we’re at a point now where the ball’s gonna touch his hands first in most situations, unless we got somebody else that’s really clear-cut hot, or some other good situation going.”

He’ll have several more chances in the near future to take over a game the way he did against the Bucks, especially if he can continue to create and knock down fadeaways reminiscent of the unguardable 38-year-old in the next locker over. But Barnes knows the best way to do it might just be forcing himself to take shots that no one can defend, and those come at the free throw line.

The Fast Break: Mavs at Bucks

Final: Mavs 109, Bucks 105

Box Score | Highlights

Behind the Box Score

The Mavs shot 60.0 percent in the first quarter, scoring 1.476 points per possession in the frame. For reference, Dallas hit four more shots in the first quarter alone than the club did in the first half on Friday. The Mavs have stressed the importance of starts lately, and they delivered on their goal today.

The Mavericks have now won nine straight games on Sunday this season. One of the season’s strangest stats.

Harrison Barnes became just the fifth Maverick ever to score at least 30 points on 13 shots or fewer. Dirk Nowitzki was the last to do it, in 2014.

Notebook

  • Harrison Barnes was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, most promisingly attempting 10 free throws in the final frame alone. He’s been working to get to the line more often all season, but his work hasn’t always paid off in some games. Tonight, though, it did. One play in particular stood out. Barnes caught a pass open at the top of the arc but, instead of taking the 3, drove the basket, drew contact, and went to the line for two shots. If Barnes can continue to get to the line more often, even if it’s only six times in a game, his efficiency and effectiveness will only increase. Tonight he scored 31 points on 13 shots.

  • J.J. Barea did that thing again where he has an awesome second half. The backup point guard scored seven points in the first half, which is good, but he played out of his mind particularly in the fourth quarter, leading a Mavs run to put them up 89-82, with him doing virtually all the scoring and assisting during that stretch, including back-to-back connections with Nerlens Noel for lob dunks. He’s been playing excellent basketball all season, and that continued tonight.

  • Nico Brussino got some significant playing time tonight, and he played well. The rookie scored seven points and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes. He always seems to make the right play, and more importantly he always plays within himself and within the system. He never seems overwhelmed by the moment, which speaks volumes of him as a young player, especially because he can’t necessarily communicate with his coaches and teammates very well due to the language barrier.

  • Dirk Nowitzki had a strong bounce-back performance after his off shooting night Friday in Memphis, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The German was hot early, hitting a couple 3s in the first to help Dallas open up a lead in the opening frame. But he would leave the game for good in the third quarter and was ruled out with a sore right Achilles, per Mavs PR. No word on his availability for future contests, but stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile, Seth Curry also missed the game with a left shoulder injury, but Rick Carlisle said he hopes the guard can play Tuesday night against Sacramento. Yogi Ferrell got the start at point in his absence.

    What’s Next

    The Mavs (32-44) will play the Sacramento Kings (40-34) on Tuesday at the at 9:30 p.m. Central.

  • Jarrod Uthoff wrote a list of ’10 Things to Know’ about playing on a 10-day contract

    Mavs rookie Jarrod Uthoff, fresh off signing a multi-year contract with the club and scoring his first career points Wednesday night in New Orleans, wrote a list of 10 things to know about a player on a 10-day contract for the NBPA.

    Check out some of the list below, and click here for the full article.

    1. Remain Positive and Confident About the NBA

    I sensed the NBA would happen ever since the end of Christmas, especially after the trade to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, when I got more of an opportunity to play. Once I got an opportunity, I knew that good things were going to happen. Things started clicking and I had a great opportunity to showcase my abilities. I really started to feel like I had a grasp of the NBA system and how to be successful in it. I was confident in my abilities. I knew I belonged in the NBA.

    2. Remember What Got You Here

    There’s a reason why I’m with the Mavericks. There is a reason why every guy gets a call up; the team already likes you, they know basically what you can do. I’m sure things like my work ethic and positive attitude came into play. And you just have to wait for your opportunity to see the basketball court. And if that opportunity doesn’t come, then you just need to be satisfied with being yourself and knowing that you’re staying ready no matter what. I think they want to see me play. So I think eventually I’ll get my shot and get an opportunity to showcase my abilities.

    Uthoff certainly has received an opportunity to showcase his abilities. Before Wednesday’s game in New Orleans, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said he plans to give the rookie more playing time from here on out in the regular season so the team can have a chance to further evaluate him heading into the summer.

    If Uthoff can capitalize on those minutes, make a positive impression, and prove himself as a player at this level, it looks like his days of buying deli meat on the cheap could be far behind him.

    Mavs sign Jarrod Uthoff to multi-year deal

    The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed rookie forward Jarrod Uthoff to a multi-year contract. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Uthoff (6-9, 220) originally signed a 10-day contract with the Mavericks on March 9 and then a second 10-day deal with the team on March 19.

    The 6-9 forward has seen action in two games for the Mavericks this year and has logged a total of 5 minutes. He has also appeared in two games (both starts) for the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate Texas Legends in 2016-17, averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 32.6 minutes.

    Uthoff went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and signed as a rookie free agent with the Toronto Raptors. He appeared in one preseason game for the Raptors before being waived on Oct. 22. He was acquired by the Raptors 905 of the NBA Development League on Oct. 30 and was traded the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Jan. 27.

    In a combined 37 D-League games (nine starts) with the 905, Mad Ants and Legends this season, Uthoff averaged 11.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 24.4 minutes.

    The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native played collegiately at the University of Iowa. As a senior, he earned First Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-America honors while averaging 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 2.6 blocks.