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4 reasons why Dwight Powell can find a place on the Mavs

The other guy in the Rajon Rondo trade can play a little bit too.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at his pedigree, there's no reason to expect much from Dwight Powell. He played four seasons at Stanford and never averaged more than 14 points a game. He was drafted in the middle of the second round and he has been traded three times in the last six months. He was moved on draft night from Charlotte to Cleveland and then shipped out at the end of September from Cleveland to Boston in order to clear room for Kevin Love. A lot of guys in Powell's position drift out of the league without ever getting a chance to show what they can do.

That could be what ends up happening. There's no reason to think that Dallas had any particular interest in picking him up, as they have never been a organization that placed much of an emphasis on finding and developing young players. If the Mavs even keep his contract, he will probably spend a lot of time in Frisco with Ricky Ledo. But if Dallas does keep him around, they might be surprised at what they get. Powell has a lot more talent than you would expect for a guy in his position - he has the skill-set to play in the NBA a long time.

Powell is a perfect example of how college statistics can be deceiving. He played on a Stanford team with three other guys who were NBA prospects -- Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis (who you may know for his role in Oklahoma City's cap shenanigans during the draft) and Stefan Nastic. They didn't play at a particularly fast pace either, so there was a ceiling on how often Powell could play with the ball in his hands over the course of a game. He was never in a position to show what he could do.

That's pretty much what happened to Chandler Parsons coming out of Florida. Parsons, like Powell, was a multi-year starter at a Power 5 school who shared the ball on a good college team. I wrote more about the specifics of Parsons situation at my blog over the summer:

It is an interesting archetype to track - a guy on a major program with all the physical tools and a versatile skill-set who had a secondary role in his college offense that may not have maximized his chances to put up the type of big-time offensive numbers that scouts look for.

Powell didn't have a lot of huge numbers at Stanford, but he was a very versatile player. He averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks a game on 46 percent shooting as a senior. You don't see many big men with the athleticism to impact the game defensively with steals and blocks and the skill to impact the game as a passer. When you are evaluating NCAA players for the NBA, you want to focus less on what he does in the NCAA and more on what he could do in the NBA.

The most interesting thing about Dwight Powell is the number of things he could possibly do in the NBA.

1. He's really big - 6'11 235 with a 7'0 wingspan.

He's thicker than Brandan Wright, but he's nowhere near as long. Powell has the size to survive as a small-ball 5 in the NBA, but he's best suited for the 4 position. The nice thing about drafting a college senior is they are usually physically developed enough to play right away. In terms of size, speed and athleticism, Powell can hang with just about anyone in the league.

2. He's really athletic for a guy his size.

Take a look at his highlight tape from a D-League game where he had 21 points and 17 rebounds:

Powell is no stiff. He's 6'11 and he can move.

3. He has a surprising amount of skill.

Powell's not a three-point shooter, but he has some range on his jumper. He can step out and consistently knock down a mid-range shot, he can put the ball on the floor and attack a close-out and he can play above the rim. He can hurt you from a lot of different places on the floor -- he can post up smaller guys and attack bigger guys off the dribble -- so you can play him in the high post or the low post.

Maybe the most interesting thing about him is his feel for the game, which you can see in him averaging more than 3 assists as a senior. He can run offense out of the post and he can find guys off the dribble.

4. Powell is a jack of all trades master of none.

That's not the worst thing in the world to be when you are 6'11 235, but it is a problem when you are trying to establish an identity for yourself in the NBA. Like most young big men, Powell is going to struggle on defense at times. Is he a jump shooter? A post player? A slasher? An energy guy? What can a coach count on to get from him on a nightly basis? That's one reason why he was never able to get much playing time in Boston.

At the same time, as the lowest guy on the totem pole in Boston, there was never much of an opportunity for him there, not with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk ahead of him in the rotation. The NBA is a business, as Powell has learned first hand in his first six months as a professional.

If we're projecting down the road, Powell is 6'11, he can play either position upfront, he can pass, rebound and score as a face-up or a post-up player. If he can extend his range out to the three-point line, he might be able to be a starter on a good team. I think his ceiling is around Markieff Morris.

The Mavs haven't had a player like Powell on their roster in a long time. Even if they don't plan on using him this season, I hope they keep him around for awhile. Chandler Parsons is proof that even a senior drafted in the second round can have more potential than you might think.