The Mavericks are pretty thin at the wing behind the rehabbing Chandler Parsons and Wes Matthews but the team doesn't appear to be looking at adding another veteran player right now. Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle provided a little insight into the thinking on the issue in his comments during media day Monday.
Parsons may be ready for the season opener Oct. 28 and Carlisle indicated Matthews probably won't make his first appearance for Dallas until after Christmas. That probably means big minutes for rookie small forward Justin Anderson and heavy doses of small ball lineups with Devin Harris and J.J. Barea at shooting guard.
But the Mavs coach sounded high on shooting guard John Jenkins, a fourth-year player the team signed on a bargain deal this summer. The former first round pick washed out after three years in Atlanta but has showed potential as an elite shooter and has decent size for an off-guard. As Carlisle said,
Jenkins has been a guy that's been pretty impressive since we signed him this summer. I was with him at (Tim) Grgurich's camp. Was very impressed with how he shot the ball. He's gotten stronger, quicker. He's a competitor.
Carlisle suggested his preference was to go young at the wing after Richard Jefferson, Parsons' backup last season, left for Cleveland over the summer. Surprisingly, he said Maurice Ndour, an undrafted free agent the Mavs added on a partially guaranteed deal, could spend time at both forward positions.
Ndour, you guys are going to see him a lot early in preseason. I know Parsons won't be playing early preseason games. He'll (Ndour) be playing some three and some four. And he's a very intriguing prospect. High energy, his skill development is really on the come. And he's got the kind of body you like. He's got length. He can run, he can finish, he can shoot.
Most observers that saw him in summer league described Ndour as a prospect at power forward or center. He's got some of the same abilities as Al-Farouq Aminu but his range doesn't extend far beyond the painted area. Ndour, one of 20 guys heading to training camp with the Mavs, will also have to beat out someone getting more guaranteed money to be on the regular season roster.
The team added another athletic forward, Jeremy Evans, over the offseason but Carlisle's media day quotes confirmed the idea he would probably spend more time at center than on the perimeter.
There are a few veteran options available at small forward still available if Dallas was so inclined. Philadelphia waived former All-Star small forward Gerald Wallace over the weekend and Portland reached an agreement on a buy-out with forward Mike Miller Sunday. But neither is an ideal fit for the Mavs. Wallace has never been much of a threat shooting from outside and Miller can't really defend the perimeter at age 35. Either player would probably be a better fit at power forward, where Dallas is already stacked.
It's a big surprising that the team didn't make a play for small forward Dorell Wright after Jefferson bolted for Cleveland. Wright, an 11-year veteran, is still only 29 years old and shot 38 percent from the three point line in 2014-2015. He seemed to fit the same kind of profile as Jefferson when he joined the team last year but apparently hadn't received any serious offers. Wright was set to go to training camp with the Heat, the team that originally drafted him, before announcing last month he was signing with the Chongqing Dragons.
If the Mavs are in the market for small forward depth around February or March when the CBA season ends, Wright could still be an option. But for now it looks like the team is prepared to lean on either unproven players or smaller, quicker lineups.