By the end of tonight (Sunday the 21st) I'll have watched all or part of 14 different Summer League games here in Las Vegas. My main goal was to assess the Mavericks, but when your choices are basketball, drinking, or gambling and your wife isn't with you, you choose basketball.
Pair this with numerous discussions with AndyTobo about the goals and function of the NBA Developmental League and I've been wondering who Dallas will sign to their last three roster spots. Andy's main point is that when talking about the D-League and any prospects from it, we often get a bit grandiose with our hopes and predictions.
At best, the most you can hope for is a replacement level player, meaning you can get a younger, cheaper prospect who can give you the same statistical impact as an older, name-known veteran. When hoping to fill out the end of the roster, a team is mainly looking at vets and prospects. So what does Dallas need?
The guard position is locked up, but I wouldn't be shocked with another one, just to drive us all crazy (also, asset collection). It's widely assumed the talented Ricky Ledo will spend the year with the Texas Legends, mainly because he needs to play and figure out what he can and can't do on the basketball court. Dallas also needs another combo forward, because if Shawn Marion is the back up power forward, Wayne Ellington and Vince Carter leave Dallas a little thin at the small forward position.
Big men are a huge concern, at least for me. I've finally come around on the argument that the Dallas defense might not be atrocious (I still think it, but I'd rather be wrong) with Samuel Dalembert protecting the rim. But the other main bigs are Dirk Nowitzki and Brandan Wright, neither of whom are fantastic rebounders. Dirk actually can be, but at 35 years old, do you really want the offensive focal point to be banging in the post for rebounding positioning? And I know Shawn Marion will be there too, but my general point remains, rebounding will be a concern.
Their main priority has to be a big. The first one who springs to mind is Jackie Carmichael from the Maverick Summer League team. Though concerns existed about how he would play against larger and more athletic players after his time in the Missouri Valley Conference, Carmichael contributed early and earned playing time each game. Offensively, his game was hit or miss, with hits including a 23 point outburst against the Los Angeles Clippers. Defensively, Carmichael was impressive each game. He has excellent timing on shot blocking attempts and plays excellent help defense. He was forced to do much of the latter, primarily because team defense a bit of a myth in Summer League.
I'm not very concerned about his offense; as an emergency big man on Dallas he wouldn't be expected to score, rather he'd be expected to not hurt the team. His real value to Dallas would lie in his defensive abilities. Unless something drastic happens to Dallas in terms of injuries, any big man Dallas ads to the roster would be asked to play minimal minutes on a very inconsistent basis. After seeing Carmichael thrive defensively with teammates he was unfamiliar with, I believe Carmichael would do well in spot minutes with the Mavericks.
That still leaves two other roster spots to fill. I keep joking that Dallas should sign Mo Williams, but I honestly have no idea who else the team should go after. The remaining Dallas Summer League prospects didn't show much that would lead to believe that they could actually make the team. I'm also not sure about other players from other Summer League rosters. Liam McMorrow, a 7'2", 275 pound center might be fun but any of the other players I looked into had partial offers from other teams.
Is there anyone you'd like to see become a Maverick from Summer League? Am I crazy about Carmichael? Let me know in the comments.