The Facundo Campazzo show is coming to the Mavericks.
If you’re not familiar with it, think about a small package that packs a big wallop, sort of like J.J. Barea used to.
Campazzo is a 5-11 playmaker who goes simply by Facu, and, yes, he is undersized. But he’s overcome that his whole career with wonderful ballhandling and being a gifted passer. He officially signed with the Mavericks on Tuesday, bringing their roster to the 17-man limit.
The 31-year-old said he was working out in Argentina with a team there and individually. Then, three days ago, he found out the Mavericks wanted him.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity,” he said. “I was training hard, as much as I could in Argentina. I just tried to be ready for any chance in the NBA. The opportunity came now and I love it.”
Campazzo played two seasons with Denver before spending last year with Real Madrid, the same European club that he and Luka Dončić led to the European Championship in 2018.
Coach Jason Kidd explained the process of signing Campazzo and what he hopes to see from him as a Maverick.
“(The Mavs were) just looking at trying to get another ballhandler in,” Kidd said. “It was just something we agreed upon as something that we needed. His name came up and we were all in agreement that it would be him.
“If you have a spot open, it gives you flexibility. And we used it wisely. We weren’t in a rush and everybody was in agreement to bring Campazzo in here at the end of training camp.”
As for what the Mavericks hope to get out of their newest player?
“You look (for) tempo, the ability to pass, set the table for your scorers and I think he’s going to be able to get some deflections and steals in the defensive schemes we have,” Kidd said. “It’s going to be interesting to see him out on the floor and the impact he has.
“I just need him to be Campazzo, to be himself when he’s in running the team.”
Interestingly, Campazzo made an impression even before he went through his first practice session with the Mavericks.
“Campazzo said that he’s enjoyed the two days he’s been here and that he thought Dorian (Finney-Smith) was funny and a great teammate,” Kidd said. “And he hasn’t even played with him yet.
“For a newcomer to say that within 48 hours is pretty cool.”
Campazzo said his relationship with Luka already has been a plus. The two grew close when they were playing in Spain.
“We keep in touch after he left Real Madrid – texting, Instagram,” he said. “He’s a friend and he’s helping me a lot through the process. I think he’s going to help me a lot (with) the plays, the terminology.”
Asked what’s changed with Luka since the Mavericks’ MVP candidate was an 18-year-old with Real Madrid, Campazzo said:
“He grew a lot. He’s a senior now. When he was 18, he used to play like an old – no, an experienced man. Right now, he’s still playing like an experienced man. He makes everyone better. After you play with Luka, you’re a better player.”
When he was with the Nuggets, Campazzo quickly became a fan favorite and he averaged 5.6 points, 3.5 assists and 20.1 minutes in 130 games over the two seasons.
“I hope this is the right opportunity,” he said. “I will try my best. It’s a new team, new teammates and new coach. It’s a new challenge and I will try to help the team on and off the court. I have to take any chances I get. It’s all new for me.”
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