DALLAS – When Dwight Powell was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 18, 2014, he really didn’t know what to expect from his new coach, Rick Carlisle.
After all, Powell was in the midst of his rookie season. A rookie season that the Celtics gave up on him before the 6-11 center could even get out of the starter’s blocks.
But what Powell discovered in Carlisle is a coach that is very meticulous, and is an attention-to-detail type of coach. Powell also discovered something else about Carlisle that baffled him.
“He’s a great hands-on coach, so as a rookie coming here he spent a lot of time with me in one-on-one workouts, which I think is kind of rare,” Powell said. “He has no problems staying hours after (practice) or showing up early (before practice) and working with guys.
“You can ask any of these young guys here that have had one-on-one time with him. He prepares you for very specific situations and scenarios that he will put you (in) in the game, so you’re familiar when you get in there. It gives you a better chance of being successful, so it’s been a great learning experience for me and I’ve been very fortunate to have been here already for five years and spent a lot of time around coach and his staff, and I’ve learned a lot.”
And Carlisle has, in return, learned a lot about Powell, who has been the Mavs’ best player this side of point guard Luka Doncic since the All-Star break.
“He’s one of my all-time favorite players because of the approach, because of the consistency, because of the love of competition, because of his love of being a great teammate,” Carlisle said of Powell. “He’s really one of our leaders with how he approaches it every single day with an unbending will to get better and for our team to get better, to compete hard and hit the floor, you name it.
“The guy is an amazing competitor. He’s been here five years and made remarkable improvements and growth.”