Season in review
One of the biggest knock-on crimes committed by how this front office has assembled the team is that they’ve made people angry at Dwight Powell. Dwight Powell has done nothing wrong. That there would be any unmet expectations of Dwight Powell’s minutes on the floor is a failure by the powers that be to appropriately set expectations, because Dwight Powell is the ultimate known quantity, and I say that as a compliment.
When Powell is on the floor, he’s going to be giving you maximum effort. He’s going to be in the right place. He’s going to finish lobs and play super-efficient basketball while never requiring an offensive set built around him. He set a new career-high for TS% with a .738 mark, bettering his career average of .661. He’s the longest-tenured Dallas Maverick. All this at age 31, two years removed from an achilles tear.
Yeah, he’s not the world’s greatest defender down low, but that’s been true for years. The attempt to fix that this offseason was signing JaVale McGee and trotting him out as a ceremonial starter for four games until they realized Powell was still better than him. Powell is a good player who knows exactly what his game is, but Powell should likely not be an NBA starter, and that’s not his fault.
Powell had a couple 20-plus point games this season, and anytime you’re getting that kind of offensive output from Powell, it’s a nice surprise. For my money, though, his best game of the season came in February during a close game against the Jazz.
Powell scored 12 points, which was solid, but his big impact to Dallas’ eventual 13-point victory was his 16 rebounds – a career high – that included eight offensive boards. And four of those eight came in the fourth quarter, where the Mavericks trailed 98-97 at the 7:48 mark.
His effort got over-shadowed somewhat, as it was a game Dallas played without Luka Doncic. Josh Green and Jaden Hardy answered the call in a big way by scoring 29 points apiece. That’s a couple of big, flashy numbers from a couple of young, exciting players, but Dwight Powell was still there. Old reliable. Doing Dwight Powell things.
Powell will be an unrestricted free agent after reaching the end of the 3 year/$33 million contract he signed in 2019. It’s hard to imagine he’d demand much on the free market, and he’s worth much more to Dallas than he is to anyone else, so don’t be surprised to see Powell back in a Maverick uniform next season… although hopefully with fewer starts than his 64 from last season.
WIth his accrued tenure and unflinching professionalism, Powell just feels like a Maverick lifer. And with the team shipping out the good-vibes All Stars like Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith, Powell is about the only thing left on the team resembling a calming locker room presence.
A completely sufficient season from Dwight Powell all things considered.