The best Mavs social media moments of the season

Dirk Nowitzki has a well-deserved reputation as one of the funniest players in the NBA, but as it turns out he’s had some pretty stiff competition this year in his own locker room. Following the Mavs players this season on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat has been a trip.

Whether Dirk and Zaza Pachulia are going at it, Justin Anderson is retweeting pictures of lions, or JaVale McGee is posting selfies with the latest Snapchat filters, the Mavs haven’t let their off-the-floor talents go to waste. Although the playoffs are right around the corner, we still have some time to look back on the funny moments before things truly start to heat up. Let’s take a look at some of the best posts and exchanges they’ve had this season.

Let’s start with today…

The Mavs won seven of their final nine games of the season, which means Dirk is already in postseason form. And when the playoffs come around, he takes no prisoners… not even yours truly.

2016-04-14 10_39_27-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

Of course, that wasn’t his only zinger of the season, and he doesn’t just pick on lowly scribes, either. When the Dallas Cowboys jokingly submitted a #MavsNewCourt design prominently featuring the famous star logo, Nowitzki didn’t pull any punches when voicing his disapproval.

2016-04-14 10_41_39-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

And there was the time when he hit front rim on a dunk — and although it happened after a whistle and therefore didn’t count, that didn’t keep the world from chirping about it. Dirk’s response:

2016-04-14 10_44_18-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

Or when C.J. McCollum crossed him up, spun him around, and hit a jumper. (The Mavs won in overtime, though!)

Not even Pau Gasol, a fellow European legend, can avoid a little Nowitzki shade.

Then, of course, there’s this, perhaps the best tweet by any player of the entire season.

Backyard Tennis

Chandler Parsons and Nowitzki are good buddies. Parsons says Nowitzki was one of his favorite athletes growing up, and he proudly wore No. 41 jerseys when playing ball on Florida playgrounds. Now that they’re teammates, Parsons can hang out with his idol. Sometimes that means playing tennis…

#tbt tennis with @swish41 #itwasin #hebeatmebarefoot

A video posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…while others it might mean lifting weights together…

#tbt struggling with the 30s!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…while others yet it might mean exploring Southern culture.

@swish41 is ready to hoop!!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

You’re never too old to be a cowboy.

Parsons and his buddy, Coach Carlisle

These two might have a weird, quirky relationship at times, but that doesn’t stop them from posing for pictures together in front of a Rolls Royce…

Congrats Coach Carlisle on the new deal! #5moreyears #iseeyourwalletisalreadyout

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…or from hanging out at the most infamous Halloween party in Dallas history.

Happy Halloween!!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

JaVale McGee, Snapchat superstar

While Nowitzki steals the show on Twitter and Parsons holds the Instagram belt, there’s no question JaVale McGee has the greatest Snapchat of any Maverick, potentially in team history. He’s been a panda rapping along to “Panda” (very meta)…

…he’s relaxed with Buzz Lightyear…

…and he’s worn tropical headgear.

Following along to the adventures of McGee and Raja “The Sphynx” is always a trip, too.

And finally there was the time that he was Charlie Villanueva and Villanueva was he.

Little Mavericks

Villanueva and J.J. Barea both welcomed daughters into the world this season.

Mi vida mi todo Paulina Barea Ortiz 03/31/16 😀😇😜👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🇵🇷

A photo posted by jose barea (@jjbarea11) on

Priceless…….Game Day vs OKC…….#dallasmavs #aliyah #mffl #mavsnation #believeincharlie #proudfather

A photo posted by Charlie Villanueva (@cvbelieve) on

Congratulations to them both!

Dirk and Zaza: An unparalleled rivalry

Dirk and Pachulia don’t back down on the floor, so you’d better believe they’re not going to be shy away from the game. These two go at each other online harder than most guys do their opponents in the postseason.

Dirk doesn’t believe Pachulia can snag a Leonel Messi jersey.

https://twitter.com/zaza27/status/700465922352553988

(Click to see the whole exchange on that one…)

There’s the Great Shoulder Debate of 2015-16.

https://twitter.com/zaza27/status/684965616189595648

And then there’s Zaza taking credit for Dirk’s rise up the all-time scoring list.

Finally, here’s our entry for tweet of the year…

What a season it’s been for the Mavs, both on the floor and off of it. There certainly is something charming about these guys being so funny away from the game, especially in how they interact with one another. The players really enjoy each other’s company, and that’s a pretty important thing given the amount of time they spend together. The group has talked up the importance of chemistry and togetherness all season long, and down the stretch of the playoff race we learned just why that’s so important.

JaVale McGee showed against the Thunder what he brings to the offense

It didn’t take JaVale McGee very long to make an impact Sunday in his first appearance with the Mavericks. He scored baskets on his first four trips down the floor and had a fifth called off on an offensive interference call. Oklahoma City couldn’t stop him, especially in his first series of minutes on the floor.

The smaller picture is that McGee had a very positive debut with the club, which is obviously a good thing. Considering head coach Rick Carlisle had earlier predicted the center wouldn’t play until at least December and sparingly gave good news regarding his injury progress, the fact that he even took the floor was a good sign. But that he performed like that? Even better.

But the larger picture is much more exciting. On each of his four scores, McGee showed what he can bring to the table offensively for the Mavericks, particularly as a roll threat. His explosiveness and athleticism has never been in question at any point in his career, and if Dallas can keep deploying him in situations which highlight his greatest attributes, McGee is set to contribute on a nightly basis.

First, let’s look at a standard pick-and-roll play with McGee as the roller. (These plays will be shown out of sequence as they happened in the game.) He easily beats Enes Kanter baseline and lays in a nifty reverse.

JaVale reverse

The Mavs spaced the floor so that McGee and Raymond Felton were all by themselves on one side of the floor. It was essentially a two-man game, and the big man won his matchup. But it’s when you play a center off of Dirk Nowitzki that you really see what type of impact a player can make.

In this sequence, Nick Collison should theoretically slide over to help against the rolling McGee, but there’s no way he’s going to leave Nowitzki open. The German has beaten his cheating defenders time and time again over the years and by now they know better. So what happens?

JaVale dunk

McGee dunks it, so someone has to help against the roller, but who’s it gonna be? (Notice how, after the play, Kanter looks at Westbrook and Waiters looks at Collison. When you have all four defenders directly involved in the play blaming each other, you know you did something right.) On another trip down, Collison does help out against McGee, leaving Nowitzki alone in the corner. Notice how the OKC big man inches closer and closer to the rim as a help defender.

JaVale roll threat

Devin Harris then makes a pass to the corner to Nowitzki, and while Collison closes out well, McGee beats a double-team and turns a Dirk pass into an assist with ease.

Post up score

McGee isn’t just quicker and more explosive than most big men. He’s also simply bigger than most of them, and he has the physical tools to win battles in the post.

Finally, even if you play the pick-and-roll well, the big man has the touch to finish from a few feet out.

JaVale float

That’s a play we saw Brandan Wright make time and time again when he was with the Mavericks, and McGee was used in a similar role in his first appearance in a Dallas uniform. Wright was shooting nearly 75 percent from the field when he was traded to Boston last season, and while that’s a pretty unfair expectation to set for McGee as he works into game shape and gets used to the flow of the offense, that’s definitely the type of player he can be.

He’s a big man who can create instant offense for himself, and his mere presence on the floor is enough to dominate what the defense is doing. Defensive units are never going to freely give up uncontested dunks and layups to centers, so eventually those perimeter players are going to be sucked into the lane. That’s when players like Nowitzki and other shooters will burn opponents from deep. There aren’t many people in the world as big and athletic as McGee, and if he can continue operating within the offense with that level of fluidity and force, this Dallas second unit is going to be awfully fun to watch — and awfully good, too.

Mavs center JaVale McGee impressed during Sunday’s season debut

MEMPHIS — After playing in just a combined 28 games in the last two seasons prior to joining the Dallas Mavericks this summer in free agency, center JaVale McGee made his presence felt immediately during his debut Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Despite seeing his team fall to a 117-114 loss to end a six-game win streak, McGee dazzled in the Mavericks’ first outing of a three-game road trip. The 7-foot, 270-pounder came off the bench and logged just under 11 minutes of playing time, finishing with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and six rebounds in the process. And although the Mavericks (9-5) would eventually suffer a loss, coach Rick Carlisle was encouraged by what the team was able to get from the athletic big man in his first game action of the season.

“Well, we got 10 1/2 minutes out of him,” Carlisle said while assessing McGee’s debut. “You know, he was cleared (Saturday night) by the doctor, and we’re at a point where he’s really not going to make any further improvement unless he gets into some games. He’s feeling good, so we’ll work him in gradually. You know, he did some good things, but it helps to have another big guy.”

Seeing his first game action since March 1 while with Philadelphia, McGee immediately gave the Mavs a boost inside Sunday while connecting on back-to-back-to-back baskets after entering with 2:16 remaining in the opening quarter. He also was very active at the defensive end of the floor, utilizing his 7-6 wingspan while committing just one foul during his time on the court.

However, after working his way back from a left tibial stress fracture, McGee says he was just happy to contribute in his limited playing time.

“It felt good. It felt real good,” McGee said of his impressive debut. “The first stint I was in, I was kind of out of breath. … It was definitely a blessing just being out here, period. And I’m just grateful to be out here.

“It felt great, but I was really worried about my wind more than anything. I wasn’t even worried about scoring. I was worried about if all the work I’ve been doing is helping and getting me in shape. Everything held up good.”

Playing in 17 games with the Denver Nuggets and six with the 76ers last season, McGee averaged 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 11.1 minutes per contest before being waived by Philadelphia in March. He then signed with the Mavericks as a free agent on Aug. 13, inking a reported two-year deal worth the league minimum with a team option in Year 2.

The 27-year-old McGee entered this season with averages of 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 19.9 minutes per outing during his seven-year career, making 158 starts in 382 total games with Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. He’s also a career 54-percent shooter from the field, showcasing an uncanny ability to finish above the rim.

And after seeing a glimpse of how the 18th overall selection by Washington in the 2008 NBA Draft figures to work into the fold on Sunday, McGee’s teammates are eager to see the 7-footer continue to build on his impressive first outing of the season.

“I thought he played great,” point guard Deron Williams said while praising McGee’s contributions. “He came out and gave us a big spark. And it was just good to see him back on the court, most importantly. It’s going to take some time for him to get back in shape. You know, he’s missed a lot of games the last couple of years, so it’s just about getting that feel back and getting used to playing basketball again.”

“He was active,” swingman Wesley Matthews added. “We all know he’s a rim protector, and I think he had one foul. It’s easy when you miss a lot of games to be winded, out of shape and in bad positions defensively. But for the most part, he played his minutes without fouling, was able to roll and provide us with a spark.”

Note: Traveling to Memphis for the second outing of their three-game road trip, the Mavericks will next match up against the Southwest Division rival Grizzlies on Tuesday night. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. CT and will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest.

The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center on Saturday, hosting the Denver Nuggets. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

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Injury updates presented by Baylor Emergency Medical Centers:

There’s no injuries to report at this time.

Rick Carlisle says Wesley Matthews could play in the preseason

Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle comments on the spirited 3-on-3 game during Wednesday's shootaround, matching up against the Suns, Tyson Chandler's contributions to the franchise and more.

The Mavs’ prized offseason acquisition, shooting guard Wesley Matthews, could be back in action as soon as this preseason, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said.

“I don’t know that he’s been completely ruled out,” Carlisle said, “so it could be possible. But I don’t know that for sure.”

Matthews, who spent the summer recovering from a ruptured Achilles he suffered in March, has maintained since signing with the team that he’ll be ready by opening night. Understandably, some might not have taken “Iron Man” for his word, as players who suffered similar injuries in the past took up to a year or longer to fully recover. But advances in medicine combined with Matthews’ incredible work ethic have led us to the potential end of his road to recovery, and the beginning of his career with the Mavericks.

The news surfaced following perhaps the most promising 3-on-3 game that’s ever been played in the American Airlines Center. Among those in participation: Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams, and JaVale McGee, potentially four of the most important contributors to the team. Each has dealt with health issues this summer. Rumors have flown regarding the severity of each’s injuries and the timetable for the players’ return. But today, one by one, each player put to rest the notion that they’re “a ways away from being a ways away,” as the saying goes.

Parsons drove the lane and threw down a monstrous dunk, then laid in an alley-oop lob on the next possession. Matthews posted up anyone and everyone, scoring five straight points to win his team one game. Williams rained in threes and ran pick-and-rolls with ease. McGee soared through the air, swatting shots and gobbling up rebounds. They didn’t look any different from Charlie Villanueva and Jarrid Famous, the two healthiest of the bunch. This wasn’t a scrimmage between a bunch of injured players. This was a game between guys who are close.

How close?

“Our hope is to get some of these guys in some live action very soon,” Rick Carlisle said. “Possibly tomorrow, but I’m not very sure. We’re behind the curve in terms of where we want to be with everything, but Mother Nature has things where they are, so we’ve got to do the right things at the right pace.”

Regarding Williams, the coach said it would be a positive thing to see the point guard get into a preseason game, but at this point his status for the remainder of the exhibition season is still unknown.

Shootaround: Javale McGee

Mavs C Javale McGee talks about when he thinks he'll be ready, how he'll be able to help the team and more.

“It would be great,” he said. “I told you guys earlier in the week that he was gonna be held out. That’s still my belief. But the fact that he’s out there doing things and feeling a lot better is a very good sign.”

McGee, meanwhile, said the Mavs haven’t given him a clear timetable on his return from a left tibial stress fracture. The 3-on-3 game was his first real action in six months, and the big man said afterward he wasn’t as tired as he thought he might be, but credited bike and pool work for keeping him in shape this offseason.

“I’m just really excited to be getting healthier and healthier, so as soon as they clear me to play I’m going 100 percent,” he said.

Today gave us an exciting glimpse at what this Mavericks team could and will become once its brightest stars are back in action. But, more importantly, it was an awfully strong hint that this Mavs team will be healthy sooner than we all might have thought.

Preseason Game 1: Mavs vs. Nuggets

Postgame: Jeremy Evans

Mavs F Jeremy Evans weighs in on his performance against the Nuggets, the challenge of learning multiple positions and more.

Mavs’ starting center position up for grabs as training camp draws near

DALLAS — For two separate one-year stints, Tyson Chandler was the unquestioned heart and soul of the Dallas Mavericks in the interior.

Last season, after the Dallas front office worked out a six-player trade with New York in June of 2014, Chandler returned with unfinished business to accomplish while hoping to lead the Mavericks to another NBA title. Now, following Chandler’s free-agent departure to Phoenix this summer, the Mavs find themselves looking to fill the 7-footer’s void inside for a second time.

And with new additions Zaza Pachulia, Samuel Dalembert, Salah Mejri and JaVale McGee all looking to contend for a spot in the first unit when they enter the start of training camp, the center position figures to be one to watch this upcoming season.

“Well, I definitely feel like we’re different players, the centers that we have, so it’s definitely going to be good competition. But that’s what basketball is for — competition. So, it’s definitely going to make us all better,” McGee said in regard to the position battle that the four big bodies will find themselves in when training camp begins on Sept. 29.

Batting through nagging injuries during his 14th season, Chandler still recorded 31 double-doubles while averaging 10.3 points and 11.5 rebounds an outing in 75 appearances. He also held his own during the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets and perennial All-Star big man Dwight Howard, averaging 10.2 points and 10.8 rebounds as the Mavs fell in five games.

The Mavericks will now attempt to replace that production inside after seeing Chandler ink a reported four-year deal worth $52 million with the Suns. But as Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has said in the past, the starting position may not come down to whichever player is the most talented.

“You know, ultimately, who’s better may not be the one that starts,” Carlisle said when addressing position battles last season. “I mean, we’ve done things a little different way than some teams the last several years. … The thing that’s exciting is the possibility of having another roster full of capable players and guys that are good and guys that are experienced. And at this point in their careers, they’re aiming more towards winning and getting back into the conversation of getting a ring than just trying to get some stats and get their next deal.”

McGee certainly fits that description after two injury-plagued seasons.

The 27-year-old flashed plenty of athleticism during his first seven seasons in the league, averaging 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 19.9 minutes per outing previously in his career during stops in Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. He’s also a career 54-percent shooter from the field, making 158 starts in 382 total games.

However, prior to signing a reported two-year deal worth the league minimum that features a team option in Year 2, McGee played in just 28 combined games over the last two seasons due to nagging injuries. He’ll now look to get his career back on track while helping the Mavericks recapture the title.

“It’s definitely a great experience,” McGee said while addressing his addition to the team. “I’m extremely excited to be here, and it’s just a real positive experience. I’m glad to be here. … All I’m looking forward to is winning and winning a championship.”

The health of McGee figures to go a long way towards getting the Mavs back in championship contention. However, it’s unclear if the athletic big man will emerge as the starter in Dallas.

Working out at trade with the Milwaukee Bucks on July 9, the Mavericks acquired Pachulia first this summer in exchange for a future second-round pick. The 6-foot-11, 270-pounder averaged 8.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Bucks last season, making 45 starts and clocking 23.7 minutes an outing in 73 games.

The 12-year veteran was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 42nd overall selection in the 2003 draft and has played 815 total games, holding career averages of 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists during stints with Orlando, Milwaukee and Atlanta. And after leading his home country of Georgia to the round of 16 of EuroBasket 2015 by averaging 13.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists, Pachulia may enter training camp as the leading candidate for the starting position along the Dallas front line.

“We’re thrilled to have Zaza,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban proclaimed in July after the trade for the 31-year-old big man was made official.

He added: “Zaza is a good pick-and-pop guy, and I think we need to get somebody who’s a rim defender. Zaza can play, don’t get me wrong. The guy can shoot and he can rebound, but it would be nice to have somebody who can play above the rim. So, we’re looking at some of our options there.”

That said, the door may be open for Dalembert as he returns for a second stint with the franchise this season.

In his lone season with the Mavericks during the ’13-14 campaign, the 6-11 big man averaged 6.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a contest, starting 68 of his 80 appearances. Dalembert now figures to play with a chip on his shoulders after being shipped to New York in the deal that sent back Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton last summer.

The 13-year veteran has played a total of 886 games during stints with Philadelphia, Sacramento, Houston, Milwaukee, Dallas and New York, holding career averages of 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 24.4 minutes per outing. However, he played in just 32 games for the Knicks last season, averaging only 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds while making 21 starts prior to being waived on Jan. 6.

Dalembert now sets out to be the Mavs’ defensive anchor, hoping to improve a team that ranked just 25th in the league by allowing 102.3 points per game last season.

“Defensively, you know, that’s what I’ve built my career upon,” Dalembert said after joining the Mavs two years ago. “You know, since I started playing professionally and also in college, I’ve always been a defensive player, even when I used to play soccer. I’m ready to take charge of that defensively.”

Mejri, 29, may also take on that defensive challenge after an impressive showing in AfroBasket 2015 earlier this summer. And after becoming the first player of Tunisian decent to sign with an NBA team by inking a reported partially-guaranteed deal for three years, Mejri will certainly contend for a spot in Carlisle’s rotation at center.

The 7-foot-2 Mejri played in 34 games with Real Madrid last season, averaging 4.3 points and 2.1 rebounds as his team sprinted to the Spanish League title. He increased his production to averages of 5.0 points and 2.6 rebounds in eight games as Real Madrid also captured the Euroleague championship.

Mejri averaged 10.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in six games of the the African championships this summer, putting the Tunisian team on his back as it earned a third-place finish. Still, he fell just short in his bid to lead the Tunisian national team to a spot in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, settling instead for an opportunity to compete in next year’s Olympic qualifying tournaments.

Mejri now turns his attention to carrying over his strong play this summer as he joins a heated competition at center for the Mavericks. Still, the center position figures to be one to watch when training camp opens. And with four players vying for the starting spot, Carlisle and the Mavs will call upon the center position to fill a big void following Chandler’s departure.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle will preach simplicity from team’s newcomers to key success in ’15-16

DALLAS — It’s really quite simple.

Although much is expected to be asked of three-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams and fellow summer signee Wesley Matthews, the Dallas Mavericks won’t put too much on the plates of the other newcomers this upcoming season.

Adding players to a team that already features 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks will hand the primary ball-handling duties over to Williams. Meanwhile, Matthews will be asked to help fill the offensive void after the free-agent departure of leading scorer Monta Ellis to Indiana this summer.

However, for rookie first-round pick Justin Anderson and seven-year veteran center JaVale McGee, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle will preach simplicity as the team attempts to build on last season’s success.

“Simplicity is very important in these situations,” Carlisle explained while addressing the integration of new players. “The challenge of integrating good players is one I’ll take any day of the week, so I’m not concerned about that.”

Carlisle will certainly look to keep things simple for Anderson as the first-year swingman makes the leap to the NBA following three collegiate seasons at Virginia.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Anderson led the Cavaliers to two Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles and the second ACC tournament championship in school history. He also averaged 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists during his junior season, shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from behind the three-point arc to garner NABC All-America Third Team and All-ACC Second Team honors during the ’14-15 campaign.

That production at the collegiate level then made Anderson an attractive prospect to the Dallas front office in June’s draft, taking the versatile swingman with the 21st overall pick in the first round. Still, Carlisle won’t try to put too much on the young pro’s broad shoulders during his first season.

“You know, because he’s been in such a good system where roles were clearly defined, he plays the game simple and hard, and that’s the key for young guys to get an opportunity to play early on,” Carlisle said. “And yes, we will look to expand his game, but there are certain basic things that we need him to do at his position that we need to address first before we get into making multiple dribbles and stuff like that. That stuff will come, and he’ll work extremely hard and he’ll get there. But initially, we’re going to keep things simple for these guys. That’s the best way for them to learn and understand.”

Anderson echoes his coach’s sentiments, entering the league with a humble demeanor and hoping to learn from his veteran teammates in Year 1.

Despite making a quick adjustment to the NBA game while averaging 17.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals an outing during the Las Vegas Summer League in July, Anderson expects for things not to come quite as easily when the regular season begins. He also anticipates having to prove himself all over again, looking to make a splash without trying to do too much.

And with a goal of simply getting better each day, Anderson believes he can quickly earn respect in the Dallas locker room and around the league.

“I think what’s most important is that I just be a rookie and get better every day. But at the same time, I don’t want to reinvent the wheel and try to become someone that I’m not, because that’s a sure way to not earn the trust of your teammates and your coaches,” Anderson modestly explained. “It sounds so cliche, but I say it time and time again: I just want to do whatever it takes. I’m not the guy that’s like, ‘Oh, I went in the first round and the 21st pick. I’m going to be in iso situations, and I need to work on my iso game.’

“I’m just a rookie, so they’re going to make me prove myself and say, ‘You’re going to have to hit that shot,’ in order for them to close out and everything on me. But when I have great vets that can score the ball with great ease, and Nowitzki picking and popping, it can help. I don’t want to speak too soon. I just want to stay humble and just continue to be a sponge. Now, it’s like I said before: it’s not time to reinvent the wheel.”

Meanwhile, McGee will enter the start of training camp on Sept. 29 with a similar goal as he attempts to earn a spot in Carlisle’s rotation at the center position.

McGee played two colligate seasons at Nevada, averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during his sophomore campaign before being taken with the 18th overall selection by Washington in the 2008 draft. However, the 270-pounder played in just 28 combined games for Denver and Philadelphia over the last two NBA seasons due to nagging injuries, coming to Dallas with concerns about his health.

Last season, McGee played in 17 games with the Nuggets and six with the 76ers, averaging 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 11.1 minutes per contest before being waived by Philadelphia in March. He then signed with the Mavericks as a free agent on Aug. 13, inking a reported two-year deal worth the league minimum with a team option in Year 2. The 7-foot McGee will now look to keep it simple as he contends with fellow big men Zaza Pachulia, Salah Mejri and Samuel Dalembert in the center rotation.

And with his athleticism setting him apart from the rest of the big bodies on the team’s roster, McGee hopes to prove to Carlisle that he’s the right man for the job as the Mavericks look to plug a hole in the middle of the lineup following the migration of starting center Tyson Chandler to Phoenix in free agency.

“Well, I definitely feel like we’re different players, the centers that we have, so it’s definitely going to be good competition,” McGee confessed. “But that’s what basketball is for, competition, so it’s definitely going to make us all better.

“It’s definitely a positive thing, being a leaper as I am and a shot blocker and a dunker, so that’s definitely what teams need. I’m just somebody who keeps it simple, who dunks the ball, blocks shots and is just a presence in the paint. … [Carlisle] just wants me to keep it simple, and just play as hard as I can and be a presence in the paint.”