Take yourself back to December 19th, 2014. The Mavericks had just swung a trade for point guard extraordinaire Rajon Rondo. It is seen as potentially the missing piece to the next Dallas championship puzzle with the team off to a 19-8 start with a historically potent offense featuring Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons. For some reason, Dallas also got another player back in the deal. He was a seemingly unknown big in his first year out of Stanford named Dwight Powell.
Nearly five years later, the terrible memories of the Rondo experiment have basically faded and one thing from the trade is still very much here and making a big impact on the Mavericks: Dwight Harland Powell.
The soon-to-be 28-year-old landed a three-year, $33 million contract extension soon after free agency began on Sunday night.
The former 45th overall pick in the 2014 draft who spent countless days as a member of the Maine Red Claws and Texas Legends in the first season-plus of his career has worked his butt off to earn two multi-year contracts of over $30 million.
The Mavericks and Dwight Powell have reached agreement on a three-year, $33 million contract extension that will kick in starting in the 2020-21 season, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 30, 2019
As of now, Powell figures to be the starting big next to Kristaps Porzingis when the 2019-2020 season kicks off. The Toronto native has developed himself into one of the elite “roll men” in the NBA as he has thrived in Rick Carlisle’s offensive system that allows gifted passers like J.J. Barea and Luka Doncic to find him through the air for easy flushes.
The Mavericks offense always seems to click with Powell on the floor and the numbers back it up. Among players with at least 1,600 minutes played last season, no one had a higher offensive rating than Dwight Powell’s 135.
While Powell’s 30% shooting from beyond the arc leaves a lot to be desired, it certainly isn’t the result of a lack of effort to get better. Coaches and teammates often cite Dwight Powell as one of the hardest working players on the team. Throughout the season, I could always count on seeing Powell having an incredibly focused twenty to thirty pregame workout with plenty of time allocated to three point shooting.
A defensive pairing of Powell and Porzingis will leave a lot to be desired on those few nights a season when the Mavericks have to try to slow down the likes of Nikola Jokic or Karl-Anthony Towns, but hopefully an elite offensive attack is the narrative that overpowers any negative defensive combination.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to having Powell around for years to come is the maturity he brings to the locker room and the Dallas-Fort Worth community. He was one of ten finalists for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award this past season and seemed to be in the pictures or video montage anytime the Mavericks social media team shared some information about the team being out and about in the community.
As the Mavericks look to build a new culture after the career of Dirk Nowitzki, there isn’t a better guy to have around than Powell. His locker was next to Nowitzki’s this season and he knows he was fortunate to learn what he did from the franchise icon.
“I’ve learned a lot from him on and off the court, which has been great for me as a person,” Powell told me towards the end of the season. “I want to take this professional athlete role seriously as far as doing what we can with the platform we have to be an impactful member of this community.”
It’s hard to forget when Mark Cuban said at Dirk Nowitzki’s goodbye ceremony on April 9th, “We will continue to do everything you’ve taught us.” No one seems to be more equipped to take on that challenge than Dwight Powell.
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