The Mavs made their Las Vegas Summer League roster official yesterday, locking in the 12-man squad that will play its first game on Saturday, July 11.
There are familiar names up and down the roster, from current Mavs to future ones. Summer League is maybe the best opportunity that younger players will have to showcase their abilities before training camp begins later this fall, so it’s important that those guys take the eventful weekend seriously.
Dallas will play games on the 11th, 12th, and 14th, with the last two being televised on TXA 21. A bracket-style tournament follows, with dates to be determined. Leading the squad will be Mavs assistant coach Kaleb Canales, who’s run the Mavericks offense for the last two seasons and also coached in Vegas last summer.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names on the roster and see what they can contribute in the desert.
Crawford has the most NBA experience of any player on the Mavs Summer League roster. He’s played four years in the league on four different teams, but did not appear in a game last season. Instead, he played for the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, averaging 29.4 points per game on 45.5 percent shooting from the field in five games. There he teamed up with notable former NBA players like Andray Blatche and Sebastian Telfair.
The combo guard has spent most of his career as an instant-offense sixth man off the bench, typically acting as both the facilitator and main scorer on the second unit. He most recently averaged 11.0 points and 3.5 assists per game with both the Boston Celtics as a starting guard and the Golden State Warriors as the sixth man during the 2013-14 season.
Crawford, who turns 27 this October, is using this tournament as an opportunity to burst back onto the NBA scene. And as the Mavs continue to fill out the roster via free agency and potentially on the trade market, there’s certainly a chance Crawford could earn a training camp invite from Dallas if he stands out in Las Vegas.
Powell averaged 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 24 appearances for the Mavs last season, his first in the Association. The 6′ 11″ forward/center has already proven he has the athleticism and shooting touch to stick around in this league, but his experience in Vegas and the upcoming training camp and preseason will be a good time for him to keep refining his game.
The Mavericks are always looking for quality backup power forwards to help give Dirk Nowitzki solid rest throughout the season, and Powell could potentially be one of those guys if he keeps improving. He has the type of skill set teams are looking for in big guys these days — he has speed, quickness, and explosiveness and good height for either the stretch four or stretch five positions.
Mavs first-round pick Justin Anderson will make his team debut in Vegas. It will be most interesting to see where on the floor Anderson is deployed — be it shooting guard, small forward, or even power forward. The Mavs front office believes the rookie wing could potentially play some small-ball four in the NBA in the right situations, so there could be a chance we see him muscle up against some bigger guys.
Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff are working to improve Anderson’s offensive repertoir off the dribble. Already a terrific defender and promising spot-up shooter, if Anderson can add a reliable off-the-bounce jumper or penetrating ability to his game, he’ll be a very solid pro.
Dallas selected Singh with the 52nd pick in the draft. The center is the first Indian-born player ever drafted into the NBA.
After not playing in college — instead playing at a private academy until he was eligible to declare for the draft — the Mavs front office admitted that Singh has plenty of work to do to get comfortable with the speed of the game at the highest level. But that’s what Summer League is for. Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said Singh will begin his career playing with the D-League affiliate Texas Legends, but not until he makes some appearances in Vegas with the pro team.
Similar to Crawford, Tyler spent last season in the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 22.1 and 11.2 rebounds in 41 games for the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons. Prior to that, Tyler spent three seasons in the NBA with the Warriors, Hawks, and Knicks. He has career averages of 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
At 6′ 10″ with a 7′ 5″ wingspan, Tyler is a strong physical center prospect, and he only turned 24 in June. There’s still a future for him in the NBA if he has a strong Summer League.
Many players have gone overseas, to China or elsewhere, and come back to play with more confidence. NBA players are obviously the best in the world, so in international leagues they are typically immediately the team’s offensive focal point. That increased workload can take a player’s game and confidence to the next level, and that reflects once he comes back to the U.S. We’ll see if that’s the case with Tyler.
Miller has spent all three seasons in his career with the New Orleans Pelicans after playing four seasons at the University of Kentucky, including the 2011-12 championship team featuring Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The 6′ 8″ small forward didn’t receive much playing time before being waived by the Pelicans last season. Ultimately, Miller opted to play overseas with eventual German Bundesliga champion Brose Baskets. He averaged 10.1 points on 52.4 percent shooting from the field and 51.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Most known for his long-range ability, Miller has the chance to shoot his way back into the NBA. He shot 39.3 percent from deep during his rookie season and his career average sits at a solid 35.1 percent. There’s always room in this league for shooters, and especially young ones.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
Parks, 22, played university ball in the Philippines for three seasons, averaging 19.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He was a two-time MVP of the UAAP, the country’s NCAA equivalent. He was also named Most Valuable Player of the 2015 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Most impressively, he was named the MVP of the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Championship, a qualifying event for the FIBA Asia Championship. He led all scorers at 14.6 points per game, leading the Philippines to a 5-0 record with a dominant +342 point differential.
There’s a significant talent gap between players for the Laos National Team and the NBA, but Parks was a highly touted domestic high school recruit before he moved to the Philippines. Ultimately he was eligible for the 2015 draft but wasn’t selected, leading him to sign with Dallas for his first American pro basketball audition. At 6′ 4″, 205 pounds, Parks already has the physical frame to play in the league. All that’s left is showing he has what it takes to earn a roster spot.
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