Dallas Mavericks: Newest addition more than just versatile 3-and-D guard

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

This summer, the Dallas Mavericks quietly added a player who shot a perfect 100 percent from 3-point range with Atlanta

With around 50 days left until the start of the regular season and not much Dallas Mavericks news. I figured this would be a good time to talk about the end of the bench guys. Although they might not get to see many quality minutes for the Dallas Mavericks this season. These are names you might want to remember.

The first player we’ll be looking at is the most intriguing: the 6’6″ shooting guard out of Southeast Missouri State, Antonius Cleveland.

After going undrafted in 2017, Antonius Cleveland first signed with the Portland Trail Blazers summer league team . He would then be waived by Portland, signed by Golden State, waived, then assigned to the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Warrior’s G league affiliate, and later waived once more.

On November 17, 2017 Cleveland signed a two-way deal with the Dallas Mavericks. After injuring his ankle he was waived by the Mavericks and signed by the Atlanta Hawks on February 22, 2018.

While in Atlanta, Cleveland shot 100 percent from three-point land. Ok, so he only played in four games and was three for three from deep, but it still counts…kinda. After being waived by Atlanta he’d spend time with the Chicago Bulls and again with the Santa Cruz Warriors before returning to the Dallas Mavericks.

After watching film on Antonius Cleveland a few things stick out to me. First is his ability to stretch out his strides when attacking the basket.This might not seem like much but it helps him cover ground surprisingly quickly which often catches defenders out of position.

Second his defense Antonius Cleveland is a really good defender. In his limited time against NBA competition he’s shown the ability to stay in front of quality offensive players like Kawhi Leonard and Andrew Wiggins.

Third, and most importantly, he always seems to be in the right place. This is something you can’t teach and Cleveland has it. Staying busy and aware puts Antonius Cleveland in position for highlight dunks off of put backs and turnovers.

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Although he’s going to have to work to become a more consistent three-point shooter Antonius Cleveland has shown improvement every year and his shot mechanics stay pretty much the same on every shot which are good signs that he can develop into a consistent shooter from three-point range. Cleveland’s ability to get in the paint could get him the space needed to shoot a decent percentage from the floor however.

Speaking of getting in the paint the kid has a bag when attacking the basket. To go along with his aforementioned surprisingly long strides, Antonius Cleveland also has a really nice Euro-step, soft touch, and bounce making him a tough cover around the rim. He’s not shy about going at the rim and he will put you on poster but can also roll you up with what the kids call jelly.

Even with his offensive potential, Antonius Cleveland should look to make his mark on the defensive side of the court. A line up of Delon Wright, Antonius Cleveland, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingas, and Maxi Kleber could cause problems for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.

I understand that Antonius Cleveland playing guard on a guard heavy roster will limit his opportunities. I don’t think that the Dallas Mavericks would’ve given a roster spot that could’ve gone to a forward or center if they didn’t plan on using him?

After spending the past week watching game film and highlights of Antonius Cleveland I think that if he were four inches taller he’d be a possible rotation player. However since he’s a guard on a team full of guards, barring injuries at the position, Antonius might not see much time on the floor.

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Even in his limited playing time I bet Antonius Cleveland will have at least a few moments that will make Mavs fan say, man that dude can play. The question is can he make enough of these plays to earn a regular spot in the rotation?

  • Published on 09/03/2019 at 12:00 PM
  • Last updated at 09/03/2019 at 07:21 AM