With the Mavericks’ season kicking off tonight, we’re down to our last player preview: Nicolas Brussino. Which brings us to an important question ...
Who is Nicolas Brussino?
Brussino is a 23-year-old Argentinian basketball player who went undrafted in 2015. He played 59 games in his home country for Penarol Mar del Plata last season where, per the Mavs, he averaged 14.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
He has also been a member of the Argentinian National Team since 2012, so you may have caught a glimpse of him representing his country at this summer’s Olympics . Brussino didn’t get heavy minutes during the tournament (he sat for three of Argentina’s six games) or put up impressive or even decent stats.
But despite his showing in Rio, Brussino showed up to play during the Mavericks’ preseason. As Doyle wrote earlier this month, the preseason may not matter for the players with guaranteed contracts, but for those vying for the final few roster spots, it’s a make-or-break opportunity, and Brussino took full advantage of it.
He averaged a little over 14 minutes per game and routinely impressed with his ball handling (he turned the ball over just once per game) and shooting (54 percent overall and 61.5 percent from three). He also kept his fouls to a reasonable level. Although he wasn’t at the top of anyone’s list at the start of the preseason, after his consistently good performance, it came as no surprise that he survived the team’s final cut.
Best case scenario
Once again, pundits see the Mavericks as a team perched rather precipitously on the playoffs ledge. Which way the team tips will probably depend in no small part on the health of the team’s veteran players. A guy like Brussino, young and athletic and full of potential, could give the Mavs a little more breathing room.
He likely won’t see much playing time initially and may spend some time in the D-League with the Legends, but if he’s able to get enough minutes and if he takes advantage of them the way he did in the preseason, he could provide depth from the bench this year and (hopefully) develop into a core player as the Mavericks prepare for life without Dirk.
Worst case scenario
With a three-year, $2.5 million contract, Brussino is being paid very little money by NBA standards. If it turns out his performance in the preseason was a fluke, it will still have been well worth giving him a shot.
The worst case scenario for Brussino isn’t that he’s bad, it’s that he falls victim to Dallas’ propensity let young talent stagnate or walk. The biggest risk is that he never gets the time he needs to develop his potential or that he continues to show flashes of brilliance but ultimately ends up as a trade chip as part of a deal to lure another veteran to Dallas.