The injury depleted Dallas Mavericks needed someone to step up in order to survive the early portion of the 2014-16 NBA season and Dwight Powell seems to be that someone.
Dwight Powell, once considered as just a throw-in last season in the Rajon Rondo trade, has been nothing short of a “savior” to the Dallas Mavericks the early portion of the 2015-16 NBA season. Rated as the #10 power forward in ESPN’s Hollinger’s ratings (20.92 player efficiency rating), Powell has made an name for himself collecting the league’s second-best defensive rebound rate and adding an important strength to one of the Mavericks’ most glaring weaknesses.
The 6’11” 240lb PF/C from Stanford has made an impression, this his second NBA season. Averaging 22 minutes per game, Powell is posting some pretty impressive numbers a dozen games into the 2015-16 season: 10.5 points with a .558 FG%, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and less than a turnover a game all make Powell a valuable player in the Mavericks frontcourt.
The Mavericks needed a player to step up and assume a bigger role early in the season. Deron Williams, Chandler Parsons, and Wesley Matthews all have been working their way back to full-strength. Considering these players are expected to be three of the four top scorers on the Mavs this season, Powell’s contribution on offense has been an important element in the Mavs early success.
Powell, working with Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting coach, Holger Geschwindner, has been determined to carve out a role this season.
"“A big thing for me is slowing down and stressing your form,” Powell told Mavs.com earlier this month. “He’s different the way he teaches it, so just thinking about the ball in a different way, and the rim – kind of treating it a little different.”"
Dwight Powell’s high-energy play has been just what the doctor ordered for the Mavs. The veteran Mavericks, slowed by injury and age, have been in need of an above-the-rim player with rebounding and shot-blocking ability. The versatile Powell can give important minutes at both the center and power forward spots.
"“He’s got to keep playing aggressively without fouling, Rick Carlisle said. “He’s got to keep rebounding and knocking down open shots when they’re there. He’s got to be a presence on the boards without fouling. He’s got to run back and he’s got to do all those things. He’s a very good young player that’s got a chance to get better and better.”"
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Powell has been doing all of this and more for the Mavericks. His defense is improving every day and with his quick feet, athletic ability, and sheer determination, Powell can soon be among the league’s better defenders. His thin build will always be a hindrance against bigger and stronger post players but his leaping ability and subsequent shot-blocking ability give him the ultimate bail-out.
It’s unknown what kind of impact JaVale McGee will have on the center rotation but with as well as Powell is doing, it would be hard to see him lose many minutes. Powell is an ideal fit at the PF spot and with Carlisle trying to reduce Dirk Nowitzki’s minutes, Powell should see majority of his time at the four spot.
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“It’s fun watching Dwight progress,” Deron Williams said. “I think he’s just scratching the surface.”