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Looking back at the Mavericks’ stand-outs in Summer League

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The Mavericks didn’t win it all in Las Vegas, but they put together a team that showed real promise. A number of players should get a shot at a roster spot somewhere.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 9 - Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

With the Dallas Mavericks run at Summer League now over after a blowout 108-82 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the semi-finals Saturday night, it’s time to take a look back and assess what we saw. Luckily, for the most part, the players on the summer roster showed promise. Some of them should even get a shot at a training camp invitation from either the Mavericks or other teams thanks to their hustle and composed play. This is a look at those players with projections as to whether they will see a roster spot somewhere in the future.

Kostas Antetokounmpo

It’s safe to say that Antetokounmpo is still a work in progress. Although he started all five of Dallas’ games, he only averaged 13.4 minutes per game. That’s not a vote of confidence in his development from Summer League head coach Mike Weinar. In all, he was largely ineffective.

Antetokounmpo averaged 5.8 points on 39 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds. It’s apparent from his 11 three-point attempts that the team wants to extend his range, but he only knocked down two of those shots—good for 18.2 percent. That number will make even the Summer League version of Dwight Powell blush.

Of perhaps more concern, Antetokounmpo had a turnover rate just over 20 percent with a usage rate of 23.5 percent. Not great.

On the plus side, he’s still just 22-years-old. There’s still time for him to grow. Antetokounmpo is currently on a two-way contract with Dallas. Thanks to the mystique surrounding his development—and his MVP brother—it’s easy to assume that he’ll keep that two-way deal for 2019-20.

Yudai Baba

There was no one on the roster more popular than Baba. The reigning B. League Final MVP who plays for Alvark Tokyo, Baba had a large contingent of Japanese media following his every move in Las Vegas.

He appeared in all four exhibition games for Dallas but did not play in the team’s lone playoff game. Baba averaged four points on 50 percent shooting and 2.3 rebounds. His play was marked with constant hustle, hitting the floor for loose balls when needed.

While Baba showed that he could compete on the same level of NBA players and hopefuls, landing on an NBA roster seems a little out of reach right now at least. If he does see some time in the States in the coming future, it could be as a training camp roster addition.

Antonius Cleveland

Cleveland was one of the standouts on the roster, thanks in large part, to his previous NBA experience. He started all five games for the Mavs and averaged 16 points on 56 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.4 steals in 25 minutes per game.

While he didn’t see any time in the NBA last season, spending his time with San Antonio’s G League affiliate, the resume he put together in Summer League will certainly get him some attention. He’ll make a training camp roster somewhere. It’s up to him to earn a regular season roster spot after that.

Daryl Macon

Macon’s time in Vegas was a little confusing. Starting all five games, his averages were good. He scored 12.6 points on 41 percent shooting and dished out four dimes in 27 minutes per game. Macon, along with Cleveland, also harried opposing guards as the Mavericks’ first line of disruptive defense. That’s the good part.

The bad part is that when asked to create for himself and be the offense’s focal point, as he was in the loss to the Timberwolves, he doesn’t rise to the occasion and make the appropriate basketball play. As the team’s point guard, he also had a 22.2 percent turnover percentage.

He’s shown flashes of being able to play at the next level, but he hasn’t found a way to put it all together smoothly. Macon is currently on a two-way contract with the Mavericks. He could very well keep that spot heading into next season. However, if it comes down to the team wanting to use one of their two-ways on a new player, Macon could find himself without a deal.

Cameron Payne

It wasn’t hard to see why Payne is a four-year NBA veteran. The shooting guard rained buckets in the three games he played. He averaged 20 points on 51 percent shooting overall and 46 percent from deep. He also tacked on five rebounds, four assists, and 2.7 steals in 29 minutes per game. He made the team’s offense hum.

Unfortunately, the Mavericks shut him down after three games. It was announced on the broadcast (I believe, but please correct me if I’m wrong) that he was extended a contract offer and that’s why he didn’t play against the Croatian National Team and the Wolves.

Even though he only appeared in three games, his hot shooting was enough to land him a deal. That’s great for Payne who bounced around the league last season with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers before finding himself without a job.

Josh Reaves

You might as well chisel Reaves’ name into the pantheon of Summer League fan favorites among Mavericks fans alongside Jeremy Lin, Yuki Togashi, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and Ding Yanyuhang. No other player generated so much buzz on social media.

In five games, Reaves endeared himself to fans with gritty and at times over-zealous defense, leading to him averaging 1.2 steals per game. He also posted averages of 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He shot 38.5 percent overall and 32 percent from downtown.

While his shooting percentages aren’t great—he especially struggled in Dallas’ only playoff game—Reaves showed a lot of skills that lead to making it as a professional. It would be a shame for the Mavericks not to bring him back for the preseason roster. He has an Exhibit 10 contract so he may be fighting for one of the team’s two-way contracts come October.

Isaiah Roby

The Mavericks’ second round selection from this year’s NBA Draft played well overall in Summer League. He started all five games and averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and one steal in 27.6 minutes per game. He also shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 23.1 percent on three-pointers. Moreover, he did it all with an injured finger.

Coach Weinar wouldn’t say how serious the injury was when pressed for details, but since Roby played through it, it doesn’t appear to be anything too concerning.

If there is a concern for Roby at this point, it’s that he isn’t strong enough to bang with larger bodies in the paint. Going forward, he’ll definitely benefit from an NBA strength and conditioning regimen. It would also behoove him to develop a better outside shot as he looks to be more of a stretch-four than anything else.

Right now, Roby could see ample playing time with the Texas Legends next season as he works to improve his game.