On Thursday, the Dallas Mavericks added a familiar face to their roster. The team announced that it signed Yudai Baba.
In June, the 6-foot-4 guard flew in to participate in a mini camp with the team prior to the formation of the Summer League roster. He clearly made an impression. Dallas later added Baba to that roster and he was off to Las Vegas.
In Vegas, Baba appeared in four games and posted averages of four points and 2.3 rebounds. He shot 50 percent overall and 100 percent from behind the 3-point arc—on one attempt.
His best game came against the Houston Rockets. In it he scored eight points off the bench on 3-4 shooting. He also tallied three rebounds and a block in the effort.
“It was so fun,” Baba told me after the game. “I feel great, but I need adjustment. I need to fight through [screens] and to get back on defense.”
Beyond the box score and his desire to improve defensively, he stood out for his focused and aggressive play. Baba had no qualms diving to the floor for a loose ball.
Baba most recently played in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China for his native Japan. Appearing in all five of Japan’s games, he averaged 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, three assists, and 1.4 steals. From the floor, Baba made 37.8 percent of his attempts and 30.8 percent of his looks from deep.
As a professional back home, Baba led Alvark Tokyo to their second straight B. League title for the 2018-19 season. For his efforts in the championship, he earned the B. League Final MVP.
Baba’s signing fills out the team’s training camp roster, which now sits at the maximum of 20 players.