LAS VEGAS – Since Daryl Macon has been-there, done-that in terms of playing in the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League, it’s easy to see why he has been called upon to be the leader of the Dallas Mavericks’ summer league squad.
The move affords Macon an opportunity to step forth and showcase his talents.
“I’m mainly just learning how to be a leader,” Macon said. “I’ve never been one before, so I’m learning.”
Macon will put his leadership skills to action on Friday at 6 p.m. CT when the Mavs open summer league play against the Brooklyn Nets at Cox Pavilion.
So, what exactly do the Mavs want to see from Macon?
“They want to see me playing both ends of the floor, showing a lot of leadership since I’ve been here before, (and) showing the other guys the way they have to communicate,” Macon said. “That’s the main thing.”
In a way, Macon comes from the school of hard knocks. A product of Parkview High School in Little Rock, Ark., the 6-3 point guard was a junior college All-American after he averaged 23 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a freshman at Holmes Community College.
After transferring to Arkansas, Macon led the Southeastern Conference in 3-point shooting at a gaudy 43.8 percent. He also averaged 17.1 points and four assists during his senior season with the Razorbacks.
Despite all of that, Macon’s name wasn’t called in the 2018 NBA Draft and actually played on the Miami Heat’s summer league team last summer before inking a two-way contract with the Mavs last July 28.
Macon only played eight games with the Mavs last year when he averaged 3.6 points in only 11.2 minutes. He spent the bulk of last season with the Texas Legends in the NBA G League, where he led them in scoring with 19 points in 41 games in 34.5 minutes per contest.
“I actually got a chance to take what I learned (with the Legends) and I got a chance to put it on display (with the Mavs),” Macon said. “It was a great opportunity and I had fun with it.”
That route to the NBA required perseverance and wasn’t exactly what Macon had in mind when he left Arkansas. But he now knows the value of hard work, and the eventual payoff that comes with it.
“I learned how to work had last year,” Macon said. “I can come in and tell (my summer league teammates) from their experience, what to do and how everything goes.
“I’ve been getting a lot of hard work in. We’ve been learning. Everybody is coming together. I’m just trying to create that bond (between the players).”
A very confident player, Macon doesn’t let the fact that he’s on a two-way contract affect him mentally. Still, he would rather have some additional security on his resume.
“It’s still a game and it’s a grid,” Macon said. “I’m not satisfied with it. I want more.
“So, I just come in here and try to get better every day, and I’m just trying to find my spot in here.”
The summer league is primarily for players entering their first or second year in the NBA. That means Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson – they both just finished their rookie season – were eligible to play on this year’s summer league team for the Mavs.
But with Doncic being named the NBA Rookie of the Year, and Brunson having a very strong finishing kick during the second half of last season, the Mavs saw no need to have them play summer league basketball.
“They had a long season,” Macon said. “I wasn’t expecting them to play (this summer), but it’s another opportunity for us. I’m proud of those guys and what they did. It’s opening the door for us.”
Expectations are indeed high for Macon this summer. And while success in the summer league hinges on a lot of variables, Macon expects the Mavericks to excel in at least one area.
“We might not be the most talented team,” Macon said. “But I think we’ll be the most-hardest playing team.”
Spoken like a true leader.