It’s been a long journey to the NBA for Ryan Broekhoff, the 28 year old Australia native who has a smooth outside shot and will be trying to work his way in to Rick Carlisle’s rotation. Though it’s his first year in the league, Broekhoff was gaining attention from a handful of NBA teams this summer. While the Mavericks weren’t one of those seven or eight teams he worked out for, they got to the wing first. He looks to fill a sizable hole the Mavs need to fill off the bench.
There’s plenty of unknown for Broekhoff this season, after spending several years playing around the world. He did spend four years at Valparaiso playing college ball in the states, represented Australia at the Olympics, and has been a solid contributor everywhere he’s played. But little can account for the rigors of the NBA competition and grind.
Though his numbers this year won’t match what he was doing in Russia last season (50 percent from three), it’s likely he continues to be a solid deep threat. But what else will he bring to the table every night?
Rick Carlisle is lacking depth at the three position, nor does he have many consistently reliable shooters off the bench, so Broekhoff will be able to find his niche. Still, to lock in a spot in the rotation he’ll need to show he can rebound and at the very least play solid team defense. Often, that can be a road block for players just entering the league, and requires some kind of adjustment. Look for him to progress in those areas as he finds time on the floor.
Best Case Scenario
In the first three preseason games, Broekhoff has gone 5-of-10 from three, and added a couple of rebounds and an assist in 16 minutes per game. It would be an easy connection to look at Doug McDermott’s 26 games off the bench in Dallas last season, and use it as a road map for an ideal year for Broekhoff.
He most likely won’t log 23 minutes per game like McBuckets did last season, but will probably be close to what he’s averaging in the preseason, unless team health continues to be a factor. In his best case season, Broekhoff proves his shooting transfers to the league, hitting a couple threes per game (being a 40-plus percent shooter from deep), while contributing as a rebounder and limiting mistakes on both ends.
The Mavs will need him to come in for short stretches of the game to give Harrison Barnes or Luka Doncic rest. He’ll be pushing Dorian Finney-Smith to up his game, and providing production for a bench unit that was very effective last season, and could still be looking for a Yogi Ferrell replacement.
For the Mavs, bench three point shooting might be a question mark to start the season. Looking at the six non-rookies coming off the bench (J.J. Barea, Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber), they shoot a career 32 percent from deep. They badly need someone to be a reliable spark plug shooter in reserve minutes. Ryan Broekhoff may be the one they have to turn to.
Worst Case Scenario
It’s always tough projecting rookies that have spent several seasons playing overseas. Early returns have been strong for Broekhoff, but the grind of the NBA season hasn’t begun. His calling card entering the league, and why the Mavs need him so badly, is his outside shooting. So in the worst scenario Broekhoff can’t find his outside shot.
If he can’t, it will be tough for Carlisle to use him consistently. Dorian Finney-Smith finds ways to contribute outside of scoring every night, and in preseason he’s shot just under 38 percent from three, a huge bonus. These two will compete for playing time when the Mavs are fully healthy (and hopefully play next to each other in some fun small ball lineups). So Broekhoff will have to find ways to fill in the gaps of DFS’ game.
His roadmap to an impactful season will be Doug McDermott. Those 26 games last season were a stellar glimpse in to how Carlisle can use a sharpshooting wing off the bench. And while those might be lofty expectations, it’s nice for the Mavs to have proven success with a similar style player, when they’ll need that 15 minutes of production on most nights.