The second year of the Ricky Ledo Experiment has been met with measured optimism for the talented young guard out of Providence. Amongst the fans there seems to be unbridled optimism concerning Ledo’s potential as a scorer, but the Mavs have taken a cautious approach with Ledo’s development.
Ledo's status as a relatively unknown commodity coupled with his combination of size, handle, and shooting has fueled the Ledo lovefest with fans and select media members—myself included. However, many questions still remain about Ledo's ability to churn potential into production. Behind Monta and Parsons, the wing rotation lacks an offensive punch. Ledo has an opportunity to carve out a small role in the rotation and provide Carlisle another tool to utilize off the bench.
Thus far through the preseason, Ledo's production has been uneven. He played well early while filling in for Monta, but has tailed off when playing with the lower end of the roster. However one thing about Ledo does remain clear: He will get shots up by any means necessary.
Looking at Last Year
Ledo’s rookie season worked as a de facto college season. He spent the majority of his time playing under Eduardo Najera for the Texas Legends. Najera played Ledo everywhere from point guard to power forward. There was a lot to learn for Ledo while he constantly transitioned between the Mavs and Legends. His season averages weren't great, but a lot of that had to with missing an entire season of basketball.
Down the stretch of the season Ledo began finding his groove and exhibiting the kind of production a former McDonald's All-American should in the D-League. He averaged 22 points, seven boards and five assists on nearly 60 percent shooting in his final five games as a Legend.
Best Case Scenario
To see the best case scenario for Ledo, you just have to take a look at the handsome starting small forward for the Mavs. Parsons and Ledo were drafted at nearly the same pick in the draft and they were both offered four-year deals.
The ideal scenario for Ledo this season would involve him shooting the moneyball well and earning about 15 minutes a night. The shooting would add another offensive weapon to the Maverick Machine and alleviate Monta from playing over 30 minutes a night.
Worst Case Scenario
Ledo takes a significant step back in his development and his athletic limitations are proven to be a true deterrent to becoming a rotational player. Furthermore, Ledo's regression leads to some the character issues brought up about him during the draft.
The entire fiasco leads to the Mavs trading Ledo to a lottery-bound team where he develops and becomes a noted acquirer of buckets. It's a highly unlikely scenario, but we have to entertain all options here.
Can Ledo Crack the Rotation?
Ultimately, I don't think Ledo gets consistent playing time this season unless Monta suffers a significant injury (don't you dare think about that, basketball gods). However, I do think Ledo spends most of the season with the Mavs instead of the Legends.
Ledo has stated in the preseason that he doesn't expect to spend much time in the D-League this season. As long as he adheres to the Carlisle mantra "stay ready," Ledo shouldn't make many trips to Frisco this season.