Mavs Donuts, As Dallas' Kids Are Suddenly Jumping Into The Deep End ... Zack Cunningham (here on Twitter) and I cook 'em up ...
DONUT 1: Run and gun
The Mavericks, if the preseason is any indication, are going to shoot a TON of three-pointers. That’s a good thing … if the floor is dotted with shooters.
However, with mostly Dallas’ reserves playing on Tuesday against Denver, Dallas went just 5-of-24 from deep in the first half with Devin Harris contributing three of those. Charlie Villanueva had one and Maurice NDour (more on him in a minute) had the other. It’s clear the Mavs hope to have shooters on the bench, and they’ll get better with time, but at least Tuesday was an indication that deep threats like Justin Anderson (0-for-4 from the floor) and John Jenkins appear to have the green light to fire away, even if they didn’t capitalize as much as hoped on Tuesday.
Said coach Rick Carlisle of Justin after this 96-86 preseason-opening loss to the Nuggets at the AAC: “It’s jumping in to the deep end when you come out of college and go in to your first NBA game and you have to start against starting-caliber players. He learned a lot tonight, and the other thing he’s going to learn is that the games come quickly. We’ve got another one tomorrow. He’s going to be a good player. He got in some situations tonight he’s never been in with this level of athlete. I thought he did some positive things. He had some very good looks, stepped in to some that were just in and out. His stuff with what he shot from the field – I’m not concerned about that. A couple of times, he left his feet and got in to a couple of tough situations and he’ll learn from that.”
DONUT 2: Maurice NDour, ladies and gentlemen
When the Mavs signed NDour off the Knicks’ practice squad, there was some head scratching and maybe even some yawning from certain circles, but those in the know knew NDour’s raw, rangy, athletic potential. Footage of him from his days at Ohio U showed a stretch-4 with a nice range (drawing the ever-present “Aminu” comparisons). He’s known as an energy guy and that was definitely felt during his time on the floor Tuesday night. The Twitterverse was clamoring for more of NDour and time will tell if Carlisle feels the same way … provided, of course, he forgets NDour’s blown breakaway dunk in the fourth.
DONUT 3: Jeremy Evans highlight reel
If there’s one thing Mavs fans knew about Jeremy Evans, the 2012 dunk champion, it’s that he has some serious jumping ability. ... "launching pad'' stuff, as Rick likes to call it (at least when he's referring to other teams' slywalkers.) Another of the slew of rangy, athletic wings the Mavericks brought on in the offseason, Evans showed off some of that ability on Tuesday with an athletic jam and a mid-air block of an alleyoop.
While Carlisle is still finding ways to work Evans into the mix offensively (he is attempting his share of 3s, as well), fans can definitely anticipate the high flyer being a part of the fold as the preseason continues and maybe into the regular season.
DONUT 4: Solid work by Felton
Lost in all of the hullabaloo of Dallas’ signings in the offseason has been Raymond Felton, who had a solid night starting at the point guard position on Tuesday. He showed great poise and leadership directing the newer Mavs throughout the game and looks to have a spot cemented on Dallas’ second unit heading forward.
We spend a lot of time pondering the possibility of a Mavs trade involving Felton and that's understandable. This team does have some quality vet depth at PG. But we have to say this, too: Every time we see Felton in a Mavs uniform, we like him just a little bit more.
DONUT 5: More on Justin Anderson’s debut
The likeable, uber-athletic rookie wing has quickly become a fan favorite with his playful, kind-hearted demeanor but also because of his freakish physicality, especially for a rookie. That being said, his debut on Tuesday could be viewed as somewhat of a disappointment at least as far as the first half is concerned. As mentioned above: He went 0-for-4 from deep and had just one point heading into the fourth.
Whether it was the first time playing at the professional level that caused the hesitation/jitters present is up for deliberation, but the rookie is just too talented to fall out of favor with Carlisle after one bad night. Look for more of the UVA product moving forward. ... and then eventually we'll all debate where he deserves to be on the totem pole when Wes is ready to go.
Look back at that post-draft video above, for now ... and see how Anderson is already fulfilling much of the positive expectations Rick put on him that night.
DONUT 6: John Jenkins
The journeyman wing from Atlanta has been among the quietest Mavs signings this offseason and one of the more unknown amongst the fan base. However, upon further examination and using Tuesday night as a template, Jenkins could very well have a place on the Mavs’ roster if things continue. He provided a threat from deep after a slow start with several 3s in the fourth quarter, one of his more noted skills. He also spend a moment taking on a ballhandling role. (That didn't go as well. Jenkins had seven turnovers, the same as DFW native and Nugs rookie Emmanuel Mudiay.)
While the jury is still out on his defensive chops, Jenkins’ overall performance on Tuesday should be viewed as a success. Throw him on the perimeter pile with Charlie V (whose work here gets him lots of mention in our "Rapid Fire'' review and The Dirkie as well) and Dallas might have some bench ways to fill it up from the outside.
DONUT 7: More clarity at center?
Zaza Pachulia saw the lion’s share of minutes at center Tuesday night for the Mavericks and fans/coaches/teammates alike were treated to a sampling of what the menacing Georgian can provide down low. His deft passing skills were on display as well as a physical presence that netted him eight rebounds.
Also, he’s a load with some seriously dangerous elbows. Just ask Kenneth Faried.
DONUT 8: The bow-and-arrow is spreading
It’s becoming a trend for other Mavs sharpshooters not named Wesley Matthews to fire off an arrow after drilling a trey … and the Iron Man seems to approve. Devin Harris performed the celebration in the first half, drawing an animated reaction from not only Matthews, but JaVale McGee, Dirk and a few other Mavericks in the process. We can only hope this becomes a teamwide thing. That meaning, of course, that the Mavs make plenty of 3s to warrant such a celebration.
DONUT 9: Dallas’ D
The Mavericks defense performed much better in the second half after allowing Denver to shoot 46% from deep in the first two quarters. One of the biggest concerns for the Mavericks this season will be their ability to defend without Tyson Chandler down low, but the additions of perimeter defensive stalwarts in Matthews and maybe in Anderson have provided reasons for hope. Seemingly all of the Nuggets had the green light from deep in the first half and the newer Mavs additions were scrambling to chase them off the line.
DONUT 10: The deep bench
Jarrid Famous, Brandon Ashley and Jalil Wilson all saw time late in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks as the Nuggets began to pull away. It’s clear from the distribution of the minutes in the game that these three perhaps represent the longer shots to make the Mavs final roster. Time will tell if the trio gets more time, which they should.
Keep in mind, of course, that "deep'' doesn't necessarily mean "good.'' And that some of these names are actually Texas Legends candidates.
DONUT 11: DNP (to be continued)
As previously expected, Deron Williams, Dirk, Chandler Parsons, McGee, Matthews, Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell didn’t participate in Tuesday’s game for varying reasons ranging from injuries to just being old and needing the rest (we’re looking at you, Dirk). Mejri is a particularly intriguing person of interest given his range and tools. It will be interesting to see what kind of looks he gets in the remainder of the preseason at the center position and if he can provide competition with Dalembert, who performed well on Tuesday (8 points, 5 boards) and McGee (did not play).
Rick on Sammy D: “Dalembert’s having a solid camp. He came in a little bit out of shape. He’s working really hard to get himself where he needs to be. I thought his minutes tonight were positive.”
Tonight in Houston (7 p.m. start), by the way, more of the same. The traveling party might even be small ... and the participants figure to once again be the kids and the future backups.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
“We’ve got to turn it over less. There were some positives. I thought, for the most part, our energy was good. We needed to limit the number of minutes for some of the key guys. All things considered, it was okay, but not great.” - Carlisle on the opener.