After an eventful off-season for the Mavs, to say the least, the season is right around the corner. With the training camp roster set and camp to start up in late September, it’s time to examine what players we need to keep our eyes on as preseason slowly approaches. Whether that’s a player who is set to take their career to the next level or a player who is battling for a roster spot, the Mavs training camp should be one to watch closely.
- Seth Curry
With his first season as a Maverick under his belt, Seth Curry is ready to continue proving doubters wrong. For what was seen as a roster filler or a battle for garbage minutes turned into playing almost 30 minutes per game for the 5th year veteran from Duke. Curry proved that he can shoot the ball from three-point land just as effectively as his two-time MVP brother Steph Curry, as he shot 43% from behind the arc while Steph shot only 41%. Yes, that’s right Mavs fans; the Mavericks have the better Curry brother. Seth is in a contract year and with a crowded back-court, the battle for playing time, let alone a spot in the starting line-up is definitely one to watch. I expect Seth to continue making strides in his game, which hopefully lands him a long-term deal in Dallas next summer.
- Dorian Finney-Smith
After fighting his way into the rotation last season, the sophomore campaign for Doe-Doe is a big year. Going undrafted out of Florida in 2016, Finney-Smith joined the Mavericks Summer League team and battled his way to a roster spot in training camp. The fight continued as he fought off 2015 first-round pick Justin Anderson for minutes at the three spot. His tenacity on the defensive end and infinite effort helped gain trust from Coach Carlisle. In year two, the bar is significantly higher. Though his defense and effort will be present, Doe-Doe’s offensive ability is the question mark. If he can’t knock down open shots and have the ability to create for himself, Finney-Smith might see more of the bench than expected.
- Brandon Ashley
Following a strong summer performance for the Mavs, Ashley is ready to showcase his talents at the NBA level. Ashley was a significant piece to the Mavs Summer League squads in both Orlando and Las Vegas, proving his versatility as a big man with the ability to play inside and out. With the training camp roster sitting at 20 players, the battle for the final few roster spots won’t be an easy one. While a roster spot isn’t guaranteed for the former Arizona Wildcat, Ashley has a good chance at earning him the opportunity to have Dallas read on the front of his jersey.
- Nerlens Noel
Oh, Nerlens. Where do we begin? First off, the fact that he’ll be in camp is a positive. After a long standoff between Noel’s camp and the Mavericks, Noel finally agreed to sign his qualifying offer for the 2017-2018 season. It’s evident that Noel wanted money that Dallas just wasn’t comfortable or willing to sign off on, but he’s here and that’s all that matters at this moment. For the upcoming season, it’s officially a contract year for Nerlens with no restrictions. Will he come into camp bitter and lackadaisical? I think not. You can bet your bottom dollar that Noel will be in superb shape and ready to earn the max contract that he wasn’t awarded this offseason. Will he earn that max contract? Probably not, but if his defense is at an elite level while finishing at the rim on the offensive end, he can come pretty close.
- Dennis Smith Jr.
You guessed it; the rookie. DSJ is the most anticipated Mavs acquisition for as long as I remember. Not to be forgotten, adding players such as Chandler Parsons (sigh), Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes, and Nerlens Noel were all exciting transactions in their own right, but none brought the buzz and exhilaration quite like Smith Jr. This is the type of guard that Mavs fans across the world have been waiting on. Smith Jr. brings the athleticism and blow by ability that the Mavs have lacked at the point guard position. Plugging DSJ alongside Curry and Barnes will form a diverse group of scorers added with the pick-and-roll opportunities for Dirk and Noel. It will be interesting to see how Carlisle utilizes the minutes at point guard with Yogi, Barea, Harris, and now DSJ, let alone the fact that Curry can also play some point. If his productivity from N.C. State and the Summer League can be matched at the NBA level, I think it’s safe to say the Mavs got a steal with Dennis Smith Jr.
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