2018-2019 statistics: 77 games, 10.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 21.6 MPG
Dwight Powell enters his his sixth NBA season in 2019-2020 and all but 5 but his 331 careers games have come in a Mavericks uniform. It’s often easy to forget that Powell was seemingly a throw-in piece in the Rajon Rondo trade back in December 2014, but as time has gone on, the 28-year-old has proven himself to be a vital role player for the Mavs.
The 2018-2019 season was another year that saw Powell’s role and usage on the team expand as the year went on. This has been a trend for several seasons as once the reality of a losing Mavericks season has set in, Powell is often the beneficiary of more minutes after the All-Star break as the team tries to see “what is has.” Here are his minutes per game for November/March for the last few seasons:
2018-2019: November – 17.4 minutes per game, March – 31.5 minutes per game
2017-2018: November – 16.6 minutes per game, March – 23.0 minutes per game
The Mavericks are entering this season anticipating and expecting Powell to play a huge role right from the start. There will be no fighting to get more than 20 minutes a night to start the season as most expect him to be the big man next to Kristaps Porzingis in the starting lineup to start the season. After practice earlier this week, coach Rick Carlisle even talked about how he likes the fit of Powell next to Porzingis in a lineup.
“He’s physical,” Carlisle said of Powell. “I think a physical guy next to KP is good for our team.”
When asked about his thoughts on his potential frontcourt mate, Porzingis didn’t hold back on heaping praise on what Powell is capable of doing.
“Dwight’s an animal,” Porzingis said with a smile after practice Thursday. “The energy he brings to every practice, every game, every moment, that’s something that not a lot of guys have. You can count him in that sense every time.”
There’s no doubt that after five seasons together, Rick Carlisle and Powell have a connection. Following Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement, Dwight is now the second-longest tenured Maverick on the roster behind J.J. Barea, whose current second stint with the team started just about a month before the Rondo trade back in 2014. With that connection, Carlisle has found a way to entrust Powell to work just as hard as anyone and also help create a role and offensive sets that maximize the talents of the big man.
“Dwight’s been a really effective player for us the last two or three years as a five that really creates problems offensively with rim runs and offensive rebounding. Defensively, he’s just persistent as heck. He gets after it.”
While his rebounding for a near seven-footer is less than ideal, his increased strength to go along with his athletic ability and constant energy should help him improve in that area while a bulked up Kristaps Porzingis is often using his 7’3 frame to block out wannabe offensive rebounders.
It will be interesting to see what a season for Dwight Powell looks like when he is given 25, 30, maybe 35 minutes on certain nights right from the start of the season. This team is trusting to him with a major role this season. This is the first time Powell will regularly get starters minutes in a scenario where the team has full intentions of competing for a playoff spot. No tanking. No empty stats in blowout games. This is likely the Mavericks’ starting “center” to start the season. The starts may not mean much in terms of dominating the minutes load compared to guys like Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic, Dorian Finney-Smith and maybe even versatile rookie Isaiah Roby factoring in for minutes to play along Porzingis in the front court.
It’s fair to say that Dwight Powell has earned the trust of his coaches, teammates and Mavs fans, but it’s still remains to be seen what he can do with this increased role heading into the season. It could be a huge factor in determining the success of the 2019-2020 Dallas Mavericks season.
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