Season in Review
The Dallas Mavericks aren’t short of developmental success stories in the last decade. Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber went from undrafted free agents to key cogs in a championship contender rotation, a stunning turn around. But Dwight Powell deserves to be mentioned whenever the Mavericks’ player development is brought up.
Powell was the 45th pick in the draft by the Boston Celtics, and was considered a throw in with the Rajon Rondo trade. But instead of a throw in, he’s become one of the most important Mavericks of the last decade.
In 2021-22, Powell averaged 8.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. He played in all 82 games last season, the first time. He’s ever done that in his career. Powell shot a respectable 35% from deep, but on less than one attempt per game. His shot from behind the arc continued to be unreliable and he hesitated to shoot.
Powell continued to do all the little things that a basketball team needs. He’s the best screener on the Mavericks, and while he struggles at times on defense, his effort is always at max level. Unfortunately, his lack of rim protection and inability to be a reliable scoring threat in the paint made him almost unplayable in the postseason. Powell’s minutes dropped as the Mavericks advanced, and he offered little on offense outside of those little things he does so well. But more is needed in the later rounds of the playoffs, and Powell couldn’t provide it.
Powell’s best performance of the year came against the Houston Rockets in March. He scored 26 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and dished out three assists in the Mavericks win. Six of those rebounds were on the offensive glass. Powell also had two blocks.
Powell is in the last year of a three-year deal that will pay him $11 million and change this season. Powell signed the deal in 2020.
The Mavericks seem content to ride out Powell’s contract. He’s a great locker room presence and as mentioned above, does all the little things a basketball team needs. If there’s a trade that needs a contract thrown into match salaries, Powell’s is easy to move. Otherwise, the Mavericks will bring back one of their mainstays from the past decade one more year.
Powell performed admirably in the regular season, but just couldn’t produce in the higher stakes atmosphere of the playoffs. There’s nothing wrong with that, as only the best of the best can continue to play high level basketball as the lights get brighter. Powell did his job in the regular season, but couldn’t keep it up in the playoffs.