Dwight Powell is, probably, the only Torontonian that's cool enough to be in Texas right now.
If you're a Texas Rangers fan, I apologize for pouring even more salt on that still-open wound. But if there's a person that a community can turn to and realize that Toronto isn't so bad, it's the Dallas Mavericks' young big man that was once a throwaway in a certain trade involving some point guard whose name rhymes with Sayfon Condo.
The former second-round pick from Stanford enters his second NBA season in a rare opportunity. It's not every day that the Mavericks are willing to have a young player be an important part of their rotation. Not just that, but Powell has the chance to be the backup to Dirk Nowitzki.
All he has to do is two things: Show he can be half of that guy who had a 26-point, 21-rebound game in the D-League, and not foul so damn much.
If Powell can stick to that script, he'll get a chance from Rick Carlisle.
What is expected from Powell this season?
Simply put, play coherent basketball and be a young piece to build around. He's not being asked to put up gaudy numbers off the bench and win Sixth Man of the Year. What is expected of him, which may or may not be asking a lot of him, is to be a reliable backup to Dirk.
Dallas is too crowded at the center position to move Powell there for anything other than limited stretches. He's capable of spreading the floor, scoring inside and getting an abundance of rebounds. He just needs to be 6'11 and show he can expand on his unique skill set.
Plus, he has no excuse. Look who he's learning from.
What is the best-case scenario for Powell this year?
The best-case scenario, to touch up on what I've mentioned prior, is that Powell becomes a player that Carlisle can put on the floor every game.
He'll need to be relied upon to get those rebounds that bench guys for Dallas last year couldn't get, and averaging about five points and five rebounds in, say, 10 to 15 minutes a night would be a nice stat line for the Canadian. Also, Powell becomes a lock at the backup power forward position and does not even get brought up in trade discussions once this year.
That alone would be a victory.
What is the worst-case scenario for Powell?
He never leaves the bench and is a victim, like the rest of us, watching JaVale McGee and Charlie Villanueva play power forward for some reason unbeknownst to us all and throwing lobs to Samuel Dalembert.
In short, Powell just doesn't develop into the player he's capable of being. The reasons for why this would even be fathomable are endless: Carlisle doesn't think he's ready, Powell doesn't develop into a mainstay in the Mavericks' system or someone in the front office is really that mad at Toronto. There's no excuse as to why Powell can't be an important cog in the rotation for Dallas this season.
Is Dwight Powell the last hope for the Mavericks and young players?
Fortunately, the answer to this question may lie in the hands of Justin Anderson and not Powell. But this is something to think about as the season goes on.
Powell is talented. While a throwaway in the Rondo trade, there was obviously something there for Dallas to like in order to take him back to offset shipping Brandan Wright to Boston. He's a Stanford graduate, so his IQ should be higher than both yours and mine combined.
If he shows some sort of promise and doesn't get traded for some Lithuanian project, Powell may be a cornerstone for Dallas to build around in the coming years. Soon, we'll be talking about a Big Four of Anderson, Powell, Wes Matthews and Chandler Parsons. That smells championship to you, yes?