If Salah Mejri were classified as a color during his first four seasons with the Mavericks, it would probably be plaid.

Plenty of reds, blues, greens and yellows, but never enough of any of them to consistently fit him into one of those categories.

He’s been all over the spectrum.

For instance, there are times, like the last five games he played in the 2018-19 season, when The Mej appears to be everything the Mavericks could want in a backup center. He averaged 12 points, 8 rebounds and 21 minutes of playing time in those games. Those are terrific numbers for a big man who seems to always be fighting for a meaningful role on the only NBA team he’s ever been employed by.

It was enough to make you wonder if he maybe should have gotten more playing time earlier in the season.

And then, there were these numbers: nine consecutive DNPs to start the season, which were part of 45 games in which Mejri was not used. He was inactive for six of those. And getting ejected in a January game when coach Rick Carlisle strongly criticized Mejri for getting tossed out, but apologized to the big man the following day for what he termed “unprofessional” conduct.

Mejri also was deemed expendable as the player who was waived to make room for the extra player acquired in the two-for-one trade of Harrison Barnes to Sacramento.

However, he was valuable enough to bring back right away as the Mavericks knew they needed depth at center. When Zach Randolph was waived quickly after that trade, the Mavericks looked no further than Mejri to fill the spot on the roster.

This is what Mejri’s career has been through four seasons. It’s been a bit of a yo-yo. Ups, downs and very little time spent in the middle. White-hot moments interspersed with long, cold stretches.

But there were some interesting moments in his fourth season. Most importantly was the quote-of-the-season candidate from Carlisle, who famously said after the April 1 win over Philadelphia that “the only person who can stop Salah Mejri is Rick Carlisle.”

That was after Mejri had 16 points and 14 rebounds in a win over the Sixers. It showed just how well Carlisle gets it when it comes to dealing with his players.

Carlisle and Mejri have had an interesting relationship. It has been tough on Mejri, who has wanted more playing time, but too often has not gotten it.

But Mejri also knows that Carlisle has very clear priorities: win games and help all his players get better.

That’s why Carlisle suggested and even prodded Mejri to get serious about shooting 3-point shots. Mejri, like most NBA players, would heave 3-pointers during shooting sessions with teammates. But it was more of a novelty since he’s 7-foot-2.

It was kind of laughable to think that he would actually add the 3-ball to his offensive arsenal.

But for the season, he made 11-of-34 3-pointers, an acceptable 32.4 percent considering the 11 makes were 10 more than he had in his first three seasons.

“Let me say thank you to coach Carlisle,” Mejri said late in the season. “He said if I wanted to stay in the league, I’d need to get better at the 3-point shot. So I worked on it.”

Doing so opened up other areas of the floor for him and his teammates and was part of the reason why the Mavericks won five of their last 10 games with Mejri playing more minutes than he had been playing before.

By the end of the season, Mejri averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 11 minutes per game. Those numbers were consistent with what he averaged in his first three seasons.

Mejri will turn 33 in June but he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his legs. He is mobile for a big man and has an edge to his game that the Mavericks like. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Mejri has often said he likes Dallas and the Mavericks but he’s also a competitor who wants a chance to produce. The Mavericks have another slender big man in 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis, who is adept at hitting the 3-point shot.

But you can never have too many shooters. And Mejri made inroads this season toward being that sort of player.

Maybe he can change his true color, or at least add another one to his rainbow, if given the chance.

Twitter: @ESefko

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