Game 37: Mavs at Pelicans

GAME RECAP: Mavericks 128, Pelicans 120

Dennis Smith Jr. notches a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists as the Mavericks get the win over the Pelicans, 128-120.

Game 19: Mavs vs. Bulls

Highlights: Mavs vs. Bulls

Check out all the top plays from Saturday night's 107-82 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Game 73: Mavs at Kings

Game 62: Mavs vs. Kings

Lee With The Jam

David Lee drives in for the powerful fast break dunk.

Game 35: Mavs vs. Kings

Kings vs. Mavericks

Deron Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the second overtime, and the Dallas Mavericks beat Sacramento 117-116

Game 18: Mavs at Kings

Parsons To McGee

Chandler Parsons drives to the basket and throws the alley-oop to JaVale McGee.

Point guard position an area of strength for Mavs entering training camp

DALLAS — Despite their failed union with four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo, the Dallas Mavericks still enter the 2015-16 season with plenty of depth at the point guard position.

Like this season, the Mavericks came into the ’14-15 campaign with a trusted veteran floor general in the first unit as Jameer Nelson opened as the starting point guard. Nelson would then appear in 23 games for the Mavs, averaging 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists an outing during that span.

However, Nelson only connected on 37.4 percent from the field and just 36.9 percent from three-point range during his time in Dallas, leading the team’s front office to work out a five-player exchange with Boston on Dec. 18 for the services of Rondo. Now, the Mavs will look to make amends for the lackluster results of the Rondo trade, handing the keys over to former Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams and hoping the three-time All-Star can lead his hometown team back to the NBA title.

“We’ve had a history of doing well with pass-first point guards,” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson explained following last season. “Sometimes, when things are written down on paper, they look great. When things are going into the oven, they feel great. And a lot of times, when it comes out, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. [The Rondo trade] was one of those things that in our estimation certainly wasn’t risk-free, but it was certainly worth the risk. If we would’ve had to do it all over again, we would’ve pulled the trigger again.”

The Mavericks certainly weren’t shy about pulling the trigger again this summer in free agency, inking Williams to a reported two-year deal worth $10 million that includes a player option for the second season.

Williams was the No. 3 overall pick of the Utah Jazz in the 2005 draft, making the All-Rookie First Team that year after joining Magic Johnson and Kevin Johnson as only the third player in league history to have at least 1,500 points and 800 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field in a single season. The 10-year veteran holds career averages of 17.0 points, 8.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 716 total games, making 664 starts during that time while with the Jazz and the Nets organizations.

For his career, the 6-foot-3 Williams has shot 44.7 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range. However, The Colony native produced his lowest-scoring output since his rookie campaign last season, averaging 13.0 points, 6.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 31.1 minutes an outing while appearing in 68 games for the Nets. He also shot just 38.7 percent from the field, leading to buyout talks with the Nets’ front office this summer.

Vice versa, Rondo averaged 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in his 46 regular-season appearances for the Mavs, hitting on 43.6 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from behind the arc. With Rondo at the point, the Mavs finished the ’14-15 season ranked third in the league in scoring with 105.2 points per game and eighth while dishing out 22.5 assists an outing, respectively.

The Mavericks now hope Williams can thrive in coach Rick Carlisle’s system while leading the team back to the postseason for a 15th time in a 16-year span.

“I mean, I’m definitely excited about that,” Williams told Mavs.com earlier this month as he prepares to lead his new team this upcoming season. “You know, there’s definitely a stability about this organization that’s definitely intriguing. You know, they have guys that have been here forever, so it’s just about plugging in the new pieces — myself included — and just trying to get to work. But, you know, I’m just excited about this opportunity, and I’m ready to get the season going.”

The Mavs will feature plenty of depth behind Williams as well this season, reenlisting three veterans in the backcourt that return from the ’14-15 campaign.

Making 10 starts during his 77 appearances last season, reserve guard J.J. Barea figures to assume the bulk of the backup minutes at point guard behind Williams. Barea averaged 7.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists an outing last season, upping his production in the playoffs to 11.8 points, 4.8 boards and a team-leading 7.4 assists while starting the final two games of the first-round series against the Houston Rockets.

Meanwhile, Devin Harris came off the bench in 73 of his 76 regular-season appearances before being slowed by a nagging left great toe injury during the playoffs. The 32-year-old Harris averaged 8.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game during the regular season, working at both guard positions at times in the second unit.

Barea and Harris now figure to see plenty of time on the court together this upcoming season, giving the Mavericks plenty of interchangeability in the backcourt.

“[Barea] has been able to absorb the longer minutes,” Carlisle explained last season. “He plays a lot in the summer for his national team, and he plays the whole game for those guys. Generally, he’s got a motor and he’s got good endurance, so that’s been a godsend for us. Trying to keep it balanced out with him and Harris is a bit challenging, but both of them playing together has been good. And we can’t play them both 48 minutes.”

With that said, veteran Raymond Felton hopes not to be the forgotten man in the rotation at point guard after seeing little time on the court during his first season in Dallas.

Included in the six-player trade that brought back center Tyson Chandler from New York last summer, Felton was initially slowed by a high ankle sprain suffered in the second preseason outing against Oklahoma City on Oct. 10. Felton then was forced to serve a four-game suspension handed down to him by the NBA for pleading guilty to gun charges as a member of the Knicks before making his season debut in a 112-107 home win over Oklahoma City on Dec. 28.

Felton returned to the court to find himself in a crowded rotation at point guard, appearing in 29 games while posting averages of 3.7 points and 1.4 assists in his 9.7 minutes of work. And after producing career-low numbers across the board during his limited playing time, the former No. 5 overall pick in the ’05 draft will look to earn an increased role from a season ago.

“It had been a bumpy year, with me getting injured early on in the season, but you’ve just got to be professional,” Felton said while summing up his ’14-15 campaign. “I’m 10 years in, and you’ve just got to stay the course, stay ready, keep working hard every day and do what I can. And when the opportunity comes, you’ve just got to take advantage of it.”

The Mavericks’ quartet at point guard will now collectively look to take advantage of their opportunities this season. And with plenty of depth at point guard, the Mavs should have no problem initiating the offense.