The Dallas Mavericks finished group play with a 91-71 thrashing against the Golden State Warriors. It feels good to say that no matter what league it is. Dallas sports a 2-1 record heading into the tournament and faces the Chicago Bulls, losers of two straight.
Arguably the second greatest basketball tournament outside of March Madness is underway (lol) and the Mavs will have their hands full with seventh overall pick Wendell Carter Jr. Here’s what to watch for:
Jalen Brunson getting comfortable
Brunson’s summer league got off to a horrific start. In the opener against the Phoenix Suns, he made only three of his 14 field goal attempts, and Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks, he connected on one of his nine attempts. He also had five assists compared to eight turnovers in the two games combined. However, Monday against the Warriors was more encouraging as he hit a few triples, looked much more in control of the offense and dished eight assists including this beauty:
It seems Brunson is getting acclimated to the NBA length, speed and athleticism. He’s having trouble finishing around the rim and getting clean looks. But the summer league game is vastly different than the NBA game, so it’s more important to see Brunson command the offense and get his team good looks.
Jalen Jones seizing opportunity
Jones has been one of the best Mavericks in the summer league so far. He’s averaging 12 points, seven rebounds and shooting 44 percent from deep. Jones spent time with Dallas last season, playing sparingly until the tank was called to the front lines, but it’s clear he’s making the most of his opportunity in Las Vegas. He’s an athletic wing with good size and battles every second he’s on the floor. The Mavs will need a good showing from Jones to move forward.
Antetokounmpo is certainly not the best player on the Mavs summer league roster, but he might be the most exciting. He played two minutes total in the first two games, but in 14 minutes of action Monday, Antetokounmpo scored four points, grabbed seven rebounds, tallied two steals, and swatted three shots. He used his impressive length to turn away attempts at the rim and even showed off his handle getting to the rim. Other than the lottery picks, Antetokounmpo is the kind of prospect that makes summer league worth watching.
Through the looking glass
Had the Mavericks not been able to move up from pick five to pick three, there’s a very good chance that Dallas would have selected Wendell Carter Jr. He’s shown up well on a fairly bad Chicago Summer League team. If he plays tonight, keep a close eye on him as he’s looked amazing and would have fit well in Dallas
How to watch
The game will be televised on NBA TV at 5:30 pm CST.