Last season, the Dallas Mavericks went on a miracle run to the Western Conference Finals. It was a strange, fun ride, and the team was a likable collection of guys who hustled and won with energy. Theo Pinson was a huge part of that, even if it was from the bench.
Brought onto the roster on a two-way contract, Pinson quickly established himself as the team’s glue guy and resident vibe merchant. Head coach Jason Kidd enthusiastically called Pinson one of the most important players on the team last season after our own Luke Askew asked him about the former UNC guard:
“Theo has been our MVP,” head coach Jason Kidd told me confidently, his facing lighting up at the mention of Pinson. “His spirit, what he’s done... he doesn’t play a lot, but he’s into the game. And we didn’t have that. That’s been a big part of our success internally. We needed someone to talk, and he’s doing it for 60 minutes because he’s talking in the locker room before the game, and then he’s talking after.”
Unfortunately, spirit and talk only go so far. With the departure of Jalen Brunson, the Mavericks desperately needed a third guard to step up and take some of the playmaking duties. Pinson couldn’t make that leap, and saw little playing time this season.
Pinson appeared in 40 games, averaging only 8.1 minutes per game. He put up averages of 2.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game this season.
Pinson saved his best for last, putting up a triple-double in the final game of the season. He scored 23 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out 12 assists in the season finale against the San Antonio Spurs.
Pinson is a unrestricted free agent, coming off a minimum contract he signed during the summer. The Mavericks had an idea he could continue to boost team chemistry while contributing on the court, but as we discussed above, it just didn’t happen.
It’s doubtful Pinson will be back with the Mavericks. They’re in desperate need a talent infusion, and they know Pinson has reached the ceiling of his contributions. The best bet for Pinson going forward is to try to latch on with a lottery team and get plenty of reps on a team that isn’t trying to compete.
Pinson couldn’t overcome the bad vibes on this team, and couldn’t contribute on the court, either. Perhaps both were too much to ask out of a guy who scratched his way onto the roster as a two-way player. But it was a nice risk by the Mavericks for a guy that everyone on the team seems to love.