Ready or not, the new NBA season is here.
In the past few seasons, this would be about the time when the first coaches would start to feel their seats getting warm.
But instead of being two weeks into the regular season, the NBA has finished its shortest offseason in history and the Mavericks and everybody else will open training camps this week, first with individual workouts, then as a team on Sunday. Tuesday marks the 51st day since the 2020 NBA finals ended on Oct. 11.
Contrast that to the usual 100-plus day summer break that the league has had for years and you can see how the players, coaches and even some fans might be just a little off-kilter.
Other numbers to consider: it’s been 91 days since the Mavericks’ last game and a whopping 264 days since the eight teams that missed the NBA restart have been on the court competitively.
Nevertheless, whether the offseason was way too long or way too short, the draft is done and free agency is wrapping up. The Mavericks have a new-look roster, albeit with the same anchors in place from last season.
Here’s a breakdown of what the Mavericks have at each position with a look at projected (read: guesstimated) starters, key role players and who fills out the bench. FYI: they are allowed 20 players in training camp, but only 15 will be allowed on the regular-season roster, with two others on two-way contracts.
Backcourt: Luka Dončić, Josh Richardson.
Luka Dončić (6-7, 230) has become nothing short of a superstar in two seasons. He averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists last season and led the league with 17 triple doubles. He’s been durable and deserves to be in the MVP conversation from the very start this season.
Josh Richardson (6-5, 200) was acquired from Philadelphia for Seth Curry and gives the Mavericks a defensive-minded athletic player who can defend point guards and wing players. He’s also a capable 3-point shooter. He could easily shift from shooting guard to small forward, depending on lineup needs.
Frontcourt: Kristaps Porzingis, Dwight Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Kristaps Porzingis (7-3, 240) still must prove he can stay healthy. He successfully recovered from a major left knee injury when he sat out more than a season to come back from ACL surgery. Now he’s coming off meniscus surgery on the other knee. There’s no reason to think he won’t come back strong, but Porzingis won’t be available to start the season.
Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-5, 205) hit a career-best 205 3-pointers in 2019-20, his first full season with the Mavericks. He proved to be a terrific third lieutenant behind Porzingis and Dončić. In a league that values shooting, he’s a great commodity. And he’s not shy on the defensive end of the court.
Dwight Powell (6-10, 240) is coming off a right Achilles tear that required surgery and cut short the 2019-20 season after 40 games (37 starts). Powell had developed a nice rapport starting at center, which gave Porzingis the freedom to roam the perimeter as a stretch-four. It would be nice to see them regain that chemistry. But with both coming off injuries, it could take awhile.
Maxi Kleber, Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, James Johnson, Trey Burke, Boban Marjanović.
Jalen Brunson (6-1, 190) is entering his third NBA season and he plans to be fully recovered from the season-ending shoulder injury in February, which required surgery on his labrum. Brunson proved in a season and a half before the injury that he can handle the point-guard position in short- or long-term stretches. He’s been very solid as both a starter and coming off the bench, averaging 8.8 points and 3.2 assists in 130 career games.
Trey Burke (6-0, 185) is entering his seventh season and has career averages of 10.6 points and 3.5 assists. But that doesn’t tell his whole worth. He was leaned on heavily in the NBA restart in Orlando and responded with such good play, the Mavericks made him a priority in free agency. He fits the system well and it doesn’t hurt that he can get on some terrific shooting runs.
Dorian Finney-Smith (6-7, 220) is one of the NBA’s best undrafted success stories, not to mention one of the best values in the league. He enters his fifth season and has become an established starter with a strong defensive inclination and sneaky offensive skills. That he has become an acceptable 3-point shooter shows his willingness to put in the work. He could end up in the starting lineup again.
James Johnson (6-7, 240) was acquired from Oklahoma City for a handsome price. The Mavericks sent Delon Wright and Justin Jackson to the Thunder. This shows just how much the Mavericks feel they need depth on the front line until Kristaps Porzingis returns from knee surgery. He gives the team a rugged inside presence and more salary cap flexibility in 2021 as his deal expires after this season.
Maxi Kleber (6-10, 240), going into his fourth season with the Mavericks since they uncovered him in 2017, has developed into a terrific, versatile front-line player. He’s got 3-point ability, shotblocking ability, rebounding ability and flat-out ability. Starting? Coming off the bench? Whatever. It doesn’t matter. He’s the kind of player that helps win games.
Boban Marjanović (7-4, 280) only saw action in about two-thirds of the games last season, his first with the Mavericks. But that doesn’t tell the story. He averaged 11 points and 7.6 rebounds in just 14.5 minutes over his last eight games of 2019-20 (four starts). In six playoff games against the Clippers, he averaged 6.8 points and 5.8 assists in 13.7 minutes.
J.J. Barea, Willie Cauley-Stein, Freddie Gillespie, Josh Green, Wes Iwundu, Devonte Patterson, Tyrell Terry.
J.J. Barea (5-10, 180) will be as valuable in the locker room as he is on the court. He’s inching closer to the coaching career that everybody believes he will have, but that doesn’t mean he’s done as a player. All he does whenever getting opportunities is make the most of them, even at his advanced age. He’s fifth in Mavs history with 637 games played and seventh in 3-pointers made at 596.
Willie Cauley-Stein (7-0, 240) is going into his sixth season. Averaged just 12 minutes in 13 games with the Mavericks after getting traded from Golden State. With Kristaps Porzingis on the shelf after knee surgery for an unspecified amount of time, Cauley-Stein is good insurance on the front line.
Freddie Gillespie (6-9, 245) was an excellent rebounder in two seasons at Baylor and will get the chance to show how his skills translate at the NBA level. While he’s never going to be a spreader of the court with his shooting range, he does know how to score around the basket.
Josh Green (6-6, 210) is a rookie out of Arizona who comes into the league with a reputation as a scrappy defender who will compete all night long. That sounds good on paper, but he’ll have to pay his dues to move up the depth chart. After using the 18th overall draft pick on Green, the Mavericks have high hopes for him.
Wes Iwundu (6-6, 190) was a late signee after spending his first three seasons with the Orlando Magic. The slender swingman has gradually increased his playing time and production through those first three seasons. Last year, he averaged 5.8 points, shot 34.1 percent from 3-point range and got playoff experience for the second season in a row.
Devonte Patterson (6-7, 210) was the player of the year in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and grew up in the Dallas area playing with select teams. At Prairie View A&M, he averaged better than 15 points and six rebounds as a senior and has gifted athleticism and shooting ability. He also has the tools to be a solid defender.
Tyrell Terry (6-2, 160) was the first pick of the second round of the draft and comes in as a pure shooter who made better than 40 percent of his 3-pointers as a freshman last season at Stanford. He hasn’t yet signed his contract, but is expected to soon and will get a long look as a potential offensive spark off the bench.
Tyler Bey, Nate Hinton.
Tyler Bey (6-7, 215), the 36th overall pick of the draft, has a nose for rebounding and is not bankrupt on the offensive end. He will have difficulty cracking the rotation, but if he rebounds the ball with passion, he’ll get Rick Carlisle’s attention in a hurry. He signed a two-way contract to start his career and could start the season with the Texas Legends.
Nate Hinton (6-5, 210) is a pretty good 3-point shooter, a pretty good rebounder and a very solid defender. That checks a lot of boxes for what the Mavericks are looking for on the lower end of the roster. He agreed to a two-way deal on draft night when he didn’t hear his name called and he’ll have every chance to become a solid contributor in the future.
2020-21 DALLAS MAVERICKS TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA/Country NBA Exp.
5 Jose Juan Barea G 5-10 180 6/26/84 Northeastern/P. Rico 14
2 Tyler Bey* G/F 6-7 216 2/10/98 Colorado/USA R
13 Jalen Brunson G 6-1 190 8/31/96 Villanova/USA 2
3 Trey Burke G 6-0 185 11/12/92 Michigan/USA 7
33 Willie Cauley-Stein C 7-0 240 8/18/93 Kentucky/USA 5
77 Luka Dončić G 6-7 230 2/28/99 Real Madrid/Slovenia 2
10 Dorian Finney-Smith F 6-7 220 5/4/93 Florida/USA 4
32 Freddie Gillespie F 6-9 245 6/14/97 Baylor/USA R
8 Josh Green G 6-6 210 11/16/00 Arizona/Australia R
11 Tim Hardaway Jr. G 6-5 205 3/16/92 Michigan/USA 7
14 Nate Hinton* G 6-5 210 6/8/99 Houston/USA R
25 Wes Iwundu F 6-7 195 12/20/94 Kansas State/USA 3
16 James Johnson F 6-7 240 2/20/87 Wake Forest/USA 11
42 Maxi Kleber F 6-10 240 1/29/92 B. Munich/Germany 3
51 Boban Marjanović C 7-4 290 8/15/88 KK C. Zvezda/Serbia 5
23 Devonte Patterson F 6-7 205 11/1/96 Prairie View A&M/USA R
6 Kristaps Porzingis F/C 7-3 240 8/2/95 Cajasol Seville/Latvia 4
7 Dwight Powell C 6-10 240 7/20/91 Stanford/Canada 6
0 Josh Richardson G 6-5 200 9/15/93 Tennessee/USA 5
1 Tyrell Terry G 6-2 175 9/28/00 Stanford/USA R
*Player under two-way contract
Head Coach: Rick Carlisle (Virginia)
Assistant Coaches: Jamahl Mosley (Colorado), Mike Weinar (Florida), Zach Guthrie (Texas), Darrell Armstrong (Fayetteville
State), Jenny Boucek (Virginia)
Director of Player Health and Performance: Casey Smith (Arizona State)
Athletic Performance Director: Jeremy Holsopple (Kentucky)
Head Athletic Trainer: Dionne Calhoun (San Diego State)