Highlights: Dallas Mavericks vs. Charlotte Hornets
Darius Adams led all scorers with 25 points and Vander Blue added 16 as the Mavs defeated the Hornets, 84-81!
Darius Adams was the best player on the court for the Mavericks in the club’s 84-81 win in Orlando. That’s going to make at least one man in Dallas very happy.
That man is none other than Mavs proprietor Mark Cuban, who Wednesday expressed not only his desire, but also his intention, for his team to add as many young players as possible to fill out the 15-man roster heading into the 2016-17 season.
On the brink of the NBA moratorium lifting — teams can officially sign players and perform other transactions beginning at 11:01 p.m. CT tonight — the Mavericks are reportedly likely to have as many as three open spots available for either veteran-minimum or non-guaranteed contracts heading into training camp. Unlike in recent seasons, when the Mavericks have capitalized on players like Al-Farouq Aminu slipping through the cracks by signing them late in the free-agency season, Cuban said this year Dallas wants to go even younger, focusing instead on potentially signing players from the Las Vegas and Orlando Summer League rosters.
“We’ve got a bunch of roster spots,” Cuban said. “We put our money where our mouth is in cap room, so there’s a lot of spots for guys to make. They know if they do what we expect htem to do, then probably three guys, maybe four from this group can make the team. You never know who’s going to get cut, et cetera et cetera, but we want to have a good crew of young guns that we develop.”
Who in particular Cuban is talking about remains to be seen, as the Mavericks still have a couple games in Orlando left and an entire slate of contests in Las Vegas to come beginning this weekend. Anyone and everyone has the chance to stand out, and Dallas has pieced together a Vegas roster, in particular, featuring a ton of talent with plenty of D-I experience.
But let’s circle back to Adams for a moment.
The 27-year-old point guard obviously isn’t as young as many of his competitors in Orlando, and that would hold true in the NBA, as well. However, Adams absolutely lit up the Spanish ACB last season, leading his club Saski Baskonia to a 4th-place finish both in the ACB and the Euroleague. He averaged 15.1 points per game across all competitions, including 16.4 points and 2.9 assists in the highly competitive ACB, considered by many to be the second-best professional basketball league in the world.
His performance Wednesday afternoon against Charlotte will probably raise Cuban’s eyebrows, as the 6-foot-1 guard tallied 25 points, six assists, and three steals in just 24 minutes of playing time as the Mavericks won 84-81. He led all players in all three categories.
There is certainly much more to making an NBA roster than simply having one good game in the Summer League. But Adams has put together a very solid CV thus far, with this performance bumping his Orlando averages to 13.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, the latter of which is good for third among all players.
For a player who’s never come closer to the NBA than he is right now, that’s a nice way to start the summer.
Adams is precisely the type of player Cuban and the Mavs are after. At 27 years old, he’s still young and has plenty of room to grow. He’s hungry to make the NBA and fulfill his lifelong dream. And, most importantly, he’s playing well enough to earn consideration to receive a training camp invite.
Whether that invite ultimately ever comes or not will depend on a ton of other factors, including how well Adams finishes out his time in Orlando, what other Mavs do both there and in Las Vegas, and whether other teams have an interest in the point guard, too. Playing for one Summer League team does not preclude others from offering someone a contract.
Still, Adams is doing his fair share to earn at least some deeper consideration from the Mavericks’ front office — and from Cuban, who is keeping as close an eye as ever on this team.