clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Salah Mejri brought the hustle the Mavericks needed off the bench

New, comments

Despite inconsistent playing time, Salah Mejri put up his usual numbers and some big-time plays this season.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Looking back

Say what you want about Salah Mejri, fondly referred to as “The Mej” by his teammates, but don’t ever doubt his effort and consistency when he gets playing time. Another season is in the books for the Dallas Mavericks big man from Tunisia, and Mejri put up his usual numbers, averaging 3.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in only 12 minutes of playing time per game. Mejri’s per-36 averages of 10.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.3 blocks gives you a better idea of the kind of production he is capable of in a short period of time.

Mejri’s on-court antics, whether it’s getting in a scrum with an opposing player or getting chewed out by Rick Carlisle for arguing with the refs, tend to rub some fans the wrong way. Although he can be a little bit over the top at times, I actually like the attitude Mejri brings off the bench for the Mavs at times. It’s almost DeShawn Stevenson-esque, and I think every team should have at least one guy that’s rough around the edges like that. Mejri is who he is and will never change.

Occasionally, throughout this season, even though he didn’t get to do it as often as he’d probably like, Mejri would pull off one of those plays that would get you out of your seat. In a New Year’s Eve road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Mejri put in nine points, three rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes off the bench, including this fancy reverse dunk.

The most exciting part of Mejri’s game, however, is his ability to emphatically block shots. Here is Mejri blocking Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s layup in transition.

This next clip, though, is my favorite Salah Mejri play of the entire season. In the Mavs’ second game of the season against the Sacramento Kings, Willie Cauley-Stein attempted a floater over Dirk Nowitzki. Not only did Mejri come out of nowhere to viciously reject the shot, but he also had the presence of mind to save the ball from going out of bounds.

Whether you like Mejri or not, you must admit that he's entertaining.

Contract status

Mejri just completed a three-year, minimum contract with the Mavs and will now be a restricted free agent this summer. This means that if Mejri decides to sign an offer sheet with another team when free agency begins, the Mavs will have the opportunity to match, if they wish. It’s unclear at the moment whether the Mavs plan on bringing Mejri back next season. Even though Mejri turns 32 this summer, you’d have to think he’d be worth keeping around on another minimum contract, given what he produces in a small amount of playing time.

Looking forward

Mejri’s future with the Mavs more than likely hinges on what the team is able to accomplish in the NBA Draft and free agency this offseason. If Dirk is going to continue playing at the center position at times, along with Dwight Powell, Dallas drafting a center this year probably assures that Mejri won’t be back. The same can be said if the Mavs end up signing a center in free agency. You never know what will happen, but at the moment, chances are looking slim for a Mejri return to Dallas. If this is the last we’ve seen of Mejri in a Mavericks’ uniform, it was a fun, somewhat short ride.