After a few games, the quality of Summer League play degrades a great deal. Well -- that's not entirely true. It's our tolerance which degrades. The freshness of actual basketball from a team we care about is fun in theory. In practice, it's less fun. After three games, it's become a bit of a challenge to process.
What is there to take away from the game? The Mavericks got up early, gave away the lead by the end of the first quarter, then managed to stay within striking distance for most of the second quarter despite a parade of free throws by Jaylen Brown. The Dallas Summer League roster performed in a similar fashion as the senior club in the third quarter, coming out offensively flat while being unable to defend. The result was a double-digit deficit heading into the final period, which they rallied from with a barrage of three pointers only to fall short in the final minutes, losing 88-82.
When you read it like that, it sounds fun. A whopping 61 personal fouls in a 40 minute game claim otherwise, but that's neither here nor there in the big picture. Justin Anderson had a statistically impactful game, scoring 29 points including 6-of-12 from three, while also leading the team in rebounds with 11. He also went long stretches without scoring and was at one point 4-of-14 from the field before finishing 8 for 19. Jaylen Brown apparently had a good game for the Celtics, scoring 20 points and also getting 17 trips to the free throw line, but color me unimpressed as most of his fouls were drawn on the 6 foot tall Jonathan Gibson. I doubt Brown is able to get such a beneficial mismatch in actual NBA games
But despite the awful pace of the game, we still learned things. Onward!
Justin Anderson's energy off the bench will be an important "X" factor for the Mavericks next season.
It's really important that Anderson connects on open threes, but where his value will impact the team on a nightly basis next season will be through simply playing hard. When the Mavericks made their late game rally, Anderson led the charge, spiking the ball back on what looked to be a clear 3 on 1 Celtics fast break. He also fouled (probably a flagrant 2 in an actual game but the effort was commendable) Jaylen Brown on an attempted ally oop late. These sorts of energy plays send a message, His late season blocks were huge for Maverick momentum and I expect more of these tide turning plays next season. Any offense he contributes has to be seen as a bonus.
Hammons remains a mystery.
Six points and three rebounds is bad. The Celtics had good size and Hammons was ineffective for most of the game, save the late rally. His energy levels remain concerning. Yet we also have to consider that anchoring a defense filled with players you don't really know is a lot harder than it seems. The Mavericks also don't reward Hammons hard drives or floor running nearly enough. Hammons' final points were off a pick and roll dive with Anderson where Hammons showed really craftiness with his left hand. Obviously, that's not a staple in the Dallas offense, but that mainly has to do with the state of previous Maverick centers. After three games, one can see the signs of why the Mavericks liked him in the draft, but not near often enough.
Dorian Finney Smith is showing nothing to warrant his partially guaranteed contract.
Three games, three duds from player many thought could be drafted. Now, it's important to understand that the Mavericks probably know something we don't, but right now I've seen nothing to indicate that Finney-Smith is a strong rebounder, defender, or three point shooter. He's making bad mental lapses (catching the ball with a foot out of bounds) and failing to convert easy attempts. The Mavericks have constructed a team that relies heavily on one on one play and that's rather frustrating considering how players like Anderson and Finney Smith would be used in a Maverick offense. Then again, finding a playmaking point guard is probably a lot harder than I realize.
The Mavericks play two more games in Las Vegas Summer League, to be decided at a later time.