As Dwight Powell enters his 10th season in Dallas, he joins only six other players to accomplish the same feat. With double-digit years in a Mavericks uniform, it is no longer possible to tell the story of Dallas without Powell. He’s currently 10th in games played in franchise history, and if he appears in 56 games this upcoming season, he will take sole possession of fifth, passing J.J. Barea.
This time around is a little different as Powell is now on a much smaller deal, signing for $4 million a year over three years (with a player option in year three). The expectations will be different with Dereck Lively II being taken 12th overall in the 2023 draft and Richaun Holmes being acquired on draft night as well. Powell provides a strong veteran presence and is still capable of giving you quality 10-20 minutes a night.
There is no bigger question for Powell than that of his role. Dallas has been center-deprived for years which has resulted in Powell starting 238 games over the last six seasons. He is no slouch by any stretch, but he has never been a great starter. With emphasis being placed on fresh faces this off-season, a smaller contract for Powell ideally indicates a smaller role. The Mavericks just cannot succeed against better teams if he’s playing 20-30 minutes a night. There is no doubt the organization loves him and he will undoubtedly start games this year, but how many and for how long he plays is crucial for his and the team’s success.
Best Case Scenario
The best outcome of his re-signing is that he is thrust into a veteran role permanently. Spot starts will happen because of injuries or matchup requirements but if Powell is playing 10-15 minutes a night the implications are positive. This means Lively has rounded into form or Holmes has proved to be what he has been in the past. It could even mean that Maxi Kleber is healthy and playing well. Whatever the case is, Powell is valuable playing against backups and other starters in limited minutes. The Mavericks will be most successful if his role is reduced compared to what it has been.
Worst Case Scenario
On the flip side, we could see Powell start and play starter minutes in 50-plus games next year. With guys like Jonas Valenciunas, Alperen Sengun, Victor Wembanyama, and Steven Adams all in Dallas’ division, the Mavericks would be outclassed on most nights in the middle. Powell doesn’t have the size to keep up with a lot of centers in the league and has been a big reason why Dallas has struggled on the boards for years. Whether due to injuries or the Mavericks not being able to control themselves from using him, a lot of Dwight Powell next year would be bad.
Powell’s goal this season should be to help out as much off the court as he can. He is still one of the best rim-rollers in the NBA and has played with Luka Doncic the most. Passing on his knowledge of the pick-and-roll, the short-roll, and how to make superstars like Doncic and Kyrie Irving’s life easier will be invaluable to the younger big men Dallas has.
Powell is still a valuable team player. At a lower salary, it takes the pressure off of Dallas and allows them to use him in a way that better suits his skill set. He is going to be huge for team chemistry and development along with having some classic Dwight Powell games. As next season could be a potential inflection point in team success going forward, Powell will be huge behind the scenes to help bend the curve back towards the winning of old.