The Dallas Mavericks end Las Vegas Summer League pool play with a 3-0 record after outlasting the Miami Heat 78-73 Monday night. Yogi Ferrell paced a cold-shooting Dallas team with 23 points. Dennis Smith chipped in 16 points to go along with 5 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
Though the Mavericks jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, Dallas and Miami played a mostly tight affair, with neither team extending a lead beyond three points for the majority of the game. A late burst in the third quarter from Yogi Ferrell allowed Dallas to take a five point cushion into the final period. The Mavericks opened up the lead to as many as nine points before the Heat were able to stem the bleeding somewhat and worked the Maverick lead back down to four points. Miami attempted to lengthen the game through fouling, but Dallas hit their free throws and closed the game 78-75.
Dennis Smith is going to be a special Dallas Maverick
This was my first time watching a Smith game from start to finish and it’s hard to figure out where to start. Smith is incredibly powerful, patient, smooth, and has excellent vision.
The power to his game is what will stick with me in the days to come. While I am referring to the brilliance of his warm up dunks, I also want to focus on how he handles the ball and gets to where he wants without much trouble.
Obviously, in the NBA he’ll face bigger, stronger, and smarter defenders, but there was so little wasted movement in his dribbling. Smith would move a defender backwards, both with his quickness and with his off arm while getting into the lane. We’re all used to the gravity of Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting, but Smith will present an entirely different set of problems to NBA defenses because he can actually get to the basket with consistency.
And this doesn’t even touch on the free throws. He draws regular contact that referees can’t ignore. Free throws have been a big problem in Dallas lately. Smith will help immediately.
So what if Dorian Finney-Smith and Nicolas Brussino aren’t good shooters?
DFS is a crisp 3 of 24 overall and 0-12 from downtown after three games. His shot was already weird last year and if the Mavericks are rebuilding it this summer it’s safe to say that so far the results aren’t great. It calls into question how much you can play a 3-and-D guy who can’t hit 3’s or just shots in general.
Brussino doesn’t lack for confidence and his shot looks really pretty solid, and yet it hasn’t gone in much, hitting just 9 of 25 over all and 5 of 16 from deep. If he’s going to be a fringe rotation player, he’s got to connect on open shots.
Brandon Ashley and Jonathan Motley are fits with the Mavericks.
The fourth or fifth big in the Maverick rotation needs to be able to rebound, play defense, and connect on open shots. Ashley in particular has hit on open shots thus far during Summer League. Motley is a fierce rebounder and finisher. Whether each will be able to contribute against NBA level bigs is a challenging question to answer but thus far, what they’ve shown is really positive.