To the world’s delight, the 2017-18 NBA and NBA G League seasons are right around the corner. But before the regular season commences, we have the preseason and training camp to look forward to. The Dallas Mavericks are bringing the maximum allowed 20 players to camp, with four potentially spending time in Frisco with the Legends and a fifth who’s guaranteed to.
Over the past year and change, the Mavericks have embraced a youth movement. Former G League players like Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell are now mainstays in Dallas while several players with ties to the NBA’s growing developmental system have eyes on the future of the Mavericks’ roster.
P.J. Dozier was signed on August 8th by the Mavs organization and the 6 foot 6 combo guard has the makeup of basketball dreams. Earlier this year, he helped South Carolina reach their first ever Final Four and spent part of the summer with the Los Angeles Lakers before finding a home with the Mavs.
Scouts fall over each other to snag players who profile as projectable. Dozier, who will turn 21 on October 25th, is seriously projectable. He’s capable on both sides of the floor and has a genuine passion for defense, the harder side to get players to commit to.
He told me this offseason, “I know everyone’s looking for that guy that can go out there and stop somebody for them. I try to use my physical attributes to do that…just try to show versatility and what I can bring to the table.”
There’s a selflessness to the 2015 McDonald’s All-American, as well as a boatload of talent and potential to uncover.
The Mavericks organization knows a little something about Puerto Rican point guards. Once unknown, J.J. Barea has become one of the league’s most explosive guards. Gian Clavell isn’t 5 foot 9 like Barea, instead standing at 6 foot 4, but hails from the same country as the incumbent Mav.
Looking to join his countrymen on the team, Dallas signed Clavell in late July after he played with the Heat in the Las Vegas Summer League. Seen here knocking down a deep three, perhaps the opposition took notice at this moment…
Clavell was the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year in 2017, representing Colorado State. Coincidentally, his older brother Gilberto III won the same award of the Southland Conference in 2011 for Sam Houston State.
The 23-year old Clavell who made the Mountain West All-Defensive team and earned a medical assistant degree from Northwest Kansas Technical College, is yet another tantalizing guard prospect being brought into Mavericks camp.
Joining them is Maalik Wayns. Where Dozier and Clavell are rookies, this is nothing new for Wayns. Still just 26, he’s seen a lot of experience in international play on top of graduating training camp to the regular season roster with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2012 and the Los Angeles Clippers in 2013.
The former Villanova Wildcat spent the past three seasons abroad and was about to sign on in Russia when his agent presented the opportunity to play for the Mavericks. “I feel at this time, me being the age I am and with the experience I have, I should take my shot and try to make something happen and see where it goes.”
A Philadelphia native, Wayns grew up idolizing Hall of Famer Allen Iverson and has logged a more than respectable chunk of NBA time. As noted, he’s twice trekked to training camp and twice come away with a roster spot. Behind polished playmaking skills, he’ll look to make it three in a row with Dallas.
Venturing from the backcourt to the frontcourt, Brandon Ashley seeks to crack the roster and give the Mavs an inside presence down low. To his benefit, 2017 won’t be his first time flirting with the organization.
After starring at the University of Arizona, the freshly minted 23-year old played with the Legends in 2015-16, earning a selection to the D-League All-Star team. He spent the following year in Germany playing for the popular Alba Berlin club, but is now back stateside and back in the organization that gave him his first shot two years ago.
The Mavs made sure that –if he was coming back– it would be with them. “It definitely does wonders for your confidence. To know that an organization like this one has confidence in me and my game and liked what they saw. It’s a good feeling to have them believe in me.”
Ashley had a fine summer for the Mavs, highlighted by a 21 point display on July 8th. His high hopes to make the roster are valid and he’s a popular pick to make some noise in the NBA in the near future.
The Mavs open training camp in a few weeks and begin their six game preseason schedule on October 2nd vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. The team will more than likely have trimmed the 20 players down by then, but the league’s new two-way contracts open up another pair of spots, bringing the total from 15 up to 17.
Each club is afforded two two-way contracts and Dallas has already handed out their first to former Baylor Bear star Johnathan Motley. With one more remaining, a player listed above would be a perfect fit if they don’t make the opening night roster outright.
Under the two-way deal, the talented, bruising big man Motley is guaranteed to split time between the G League Legends and the parent club Mavericks during the upcoming season. The 22-year old’s development is a big building block for the organization and like all the others discussed, presents big opportunities for the future of the organization.