DALLAS – Dwight Powell grabbed a roller and started putting new paint on the walls of the basketball gym at Voice of Hope Ministries on Dallas’ west side, then explained that he’s also hoping for a fresh coat to be applied to his game this coming season.

On Monday, barely June, the Mavericks’ forward’s thoughts already were on the coming season. Hard as it is to believe, he’ll be entering his sixth year in the NBA. Of the first five, 4½ have been spent in a Mavericks’ uniform.

He’s made strides every season, having raised his scoring year by year.

And he’s got the option of either playing another year for the Mavericks or opting out and becoming a free agent. That bridge, he said, has yet to be crossed.

However, no matter what happens with his contractual situation, there’s one area he’d like to get better in during the coming season and that would be upgrading his consistency. That requires getting better at everything.

Steady improvement, coach Rick Carlisle would call it.

Starting stronger during the season is part of that. For his career, he’s averaged 7.1 points before the All-Star Break and 8.6 points after it. He’s shot 35 percent from 3-point range after the break, 25 percent before it.

Last season? His 3-point shooting was a tick under 40 percent as he averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game after the All-Star break. Before it, he shot 25 percent from deep and his playing time was under 18 minutes per game.

Some players produce diminishing returns with the more playing time they get. Powell appears to be the opposite.

“My usual spiel – literally everything,” Powell said Monday when asked what he’s trying to add to his game this summer. “I’m trying to continue to get stronger and continue to get faster. I’ve worked a lot on my shots, my ballhandling. We haven’t had a lot of guys in, but I’m working with the guys on the coaching staff.”

And, as always, Powell is doing what he can to support the Mavericks’ community efforts.

On Monday, at the VOH ministries, he spent time with volunteers from the Mavericks’ business office and Mavs foundation putting the paint to the new basketball court that the Mavericks are providing.

Voice of Hope Ministries nurtures and trains children through character models, life skills coaching and educational support, primarily through after-school and summer programming.

Powell knows from experience that the basketball court will go a long way toward improving the lives of kids in the area north of Interstate 30 and south of the Trinity River.

“It’s a little snippet I got of what you all are doing here– it’s a beautiful thing,” Powell said. “I’ll never forget growing up, my mom worked very late. So I spent a lot of time at the community center down the street from where we lived. It was just like this place. We had glass on one side of the court.

“And it would be 16-and-over at a certain time and under-16 at a certain time and I remember banging on the window waiting for our time. I was always trying to play against the older kids, sneaking in.

“It’s a great place and thank you for the work this community does to support the kids.”

Powell said the activity center he had access to while growing up in Toronto was similar to the one at VOH Ministries.

With one significant difference.

“We had a hockey rink as well,” he said. “Two days a week, they’d have free skate where you could skate with your friends – no hockey sticks. And the same thing with basketball, we could get in two days a week and play pick-up.”

For the record, Powell did not play hockey. His mother wouldn’t let him.

Powell said he’s excited about the upcoming season for many reasons. The Mavericks have a bright future and he’s got a no-lose situation financially.

One thing he’s not looking forward to is sitting down at his seat in the Mavericks’ locker room and looking over to his left and not seeing Dirk Nowitzki.

Powell owns the locker right next to the now-retired Nowitzki’s.

“It’s gonna be weird,” Powell said. “I’m still holding out that he’ll still show up once in a while. I’m not saying to play. But I’m hoping he’ll be around a bit.

“He’s such a big part of this team and this city. Even though he’s not sitting there, he’s left a great legacy and it puts a lot of pressure on us to carry it on.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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