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Spalding shows potential in Las Vegas Summer League

After finishing up the Las Vegas Summer League with a 3-2 record, the Dallas Mavericks look to have found a solid player with their 56th selection in this years draft.

Ray Spalding came to Mavericks in a draft night trade when Dallas swapped their 54th pick, SMU guard Shake Milton, for the rights to Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo. During his junior season at Louisville, the 6’10” power foward averaged 12.3 points a 8.6 rebounds a game. He also contributed on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 1.7 blocks and 1.5 steals. Those numbers helped Spalding earn a spot as an Honorable Mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. 

Spalding received high praise while he was a Cardinal from his former head coach Rick Pitino. Prior to Spalding suiting up for Louisville, Pitino raved about Spalding in a 2015 blog post saying, ““I’ve not seen anyone in my 15 years at Louisville with more potential,” Pitino wrote. “Needs time, but when he gets it, look out!”

Not a bad endorsement from a Hall of Fame coach.

Prior to the draft, scouts thought he had the size, length and talent to find a spot in the league. His size and athleticism helped him cause havoc for opposing offensives and could potentially find him being a solid contributor on the defensive side of things for Dallas.

So far in his young career, the results have been promising. Averaging just 14.4 minutes a game, Spalding made the most of his time on the floor by averaging 8 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. His most impressive performance came on July 9th against the Warriors where in 19 minutes Spalding finished with eight points and nine rebounds, including six offensive boards.

Spalding is receiving high praise from teammates and coaches. Dennis Smith Jr., who had a chance to play with Spalding during summer league, retweeted a GIF of Spalding on the receiving end of an alley-oop:

The coaching staff is liking what they are seeing out of Spalding so far as well. 

”He’s been really good,” Mavs Summer League head coach Jamahl Mosely said following the Mavs victory against the Warriors last week. “He’s been really good. The great part about him is that his demeanor is so calming and quiet. He doesn’t get over-rattled. He just plays the right way. He plays hard. He’s just got a smoothness to his game. He’s done so many things that you ask him to do. You know he’s been well coached.”

With Summer League in the books and training camp right around the corner, what’s next for Spalding?

The first option, and what will more than likely happen, is Spalding signs a two-way contract with Dallas. By signing a two-way deal, this would allow Spalding to play the majority of the season in the G League and see more action than if he were sitting on the end of the bench with the Mavs. 

With the waiving of Kyle Collinsworth and Jalen Jones, one can wonder if Spalding has earned himself a two-way contract.

Regardless of where Spalding ends up next season, he has earned himself a shot of being a part of the Dallas Mavericks future. 

Staff writer covering the Dallas Mavericks. UTA alum (Mav up!) in Fort Worth. Fan of the Rangers, Mavericks, Stars, and (unfortunately) the Cowboys.

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