With the battle for final roster spots up for grab, I believe Maurice Ndour will be on the Dallas Mavericks opening night roster.
This past summer the New York Knicks suited up for the summer league with all eyes on the 4th overall pick in the draft, Kristaps Porzingus. But as everyone tuned in to see the new international sensation, it was the unknown Maurice Ndour who stole the show.
In the much-anticipated summer league matchup between Okafor and Porzingus, it was Ndour that led the way with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Making front office’s around the league begin to take notice, in particular the Dallas Mavericks.
Through a weird series of events where the Knicks failed to sign their summer league standout, Ndour found himself accepting a partial guaranteed contract from Dallas.
What He Brings to the Table
Standing at 6’9″ and 200 pounds with a 7’4″ wingspan, you might think he is undersized for the four spot, but after watching him play, I bet you wouldn’t think that. The lanky forward from Senegal gained steam in the summer league for his irresistible hustle and nonstop motor.
Unlike most high motor guys who focus on hustle and defense, Ndour has the ability to score. In the summer league game against the Sixers, Ndour found Okafor guarding him on different series where he drained numerous jumpers or dribbled right past him.
Jul 13, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks forward Maurice Ndour (55) celebrates after scoring against the Lakers during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. The Knicks won 76-66. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
During the open practice this past Sunday, most fans got to see Ndour’s shot for the first time as he drained a transition three in a fast break drills. He went on to drain two more in his first preseason game against the Nuggets a few nights later.
Even with the skinnier frame and continuous adjustment to the game, Ndour brings versatility on the defensive end, a nonstop motor, and the ability to step out to knock down a jumper.
A couple of weeks ago we discussed the top 3 battles heading into training camp with the battle behind Dirk being one of them. With the numerous whispers over the summer of the Mavericks continuing the trend of lowering Dirk’s minutes this year, it makes the backup minutes at power forward even more important.
Also, along with minutes behind Dirk, is the battle for who takes over some backup wing minutes while emphasizing the defensive end. Al Farouq Aminu played this role perfect as he played both on the wing and post while defending some of the best in the game. Rick Carlisle seems to think that Ndour could display similar versatility.
I find Ndour as a mixture between Aminu and Jeremy Evans. He has the body frame and versatility of Evans while possessing the motor and scoring ability of Aminu. The Mavericks have the needs for his strengths and I think he will prove that he is the one that can fulfill those needs.
Who Does He Replace?
With 20 players under contract and five of them being partial guaranteed contracts, the writing is on the wall for the final 15-man roster to not include the five partial guaranteed guys, but I think Ndour can change that.
More from Mavs News
- Dallas Mavericks: Grading the Reggie Bullock signing
- Dallas Mavericks: Grading the Boban Marjanovic signing
- Mavericks: Luka Doncic near triple-double leads Slovenia over Germany
- Dallas Mavericks: Grading the Sterling Brown signing
- Dallas Mavericks agree to deal with Reggie Bullock: What does he add?
For the sake of me not getting crucified, I think Dwight Powell will make the roster. Ultimately, I think Ndour can take Dalembert’s roster spot. Including Powell , that would give the Mavs Dirk, Zaza, Powell, Charlie, McGee, and Evans all getting minutes at the four and five spots.
To build on the fact that he could take Dalembert’s roster spot, Carlisle had some interesting comments about Sammy’s condition coming into training camp.
I ultimately think another wing defender is more important to this team. Throughout the first two games of the preseason, Anderson has been taking up that role on Gallinari and Harden. On Wednesday night, we saw Ndour go head-to-head with James Harden where the both of them exchange some heated words. Ndour would provide another quality wing defender that can knock down some shots at the same time.
*Oddly, I think JaVale McGee’s health could play a role into Ndour’s roster chances. If McGee is not healthy enough for the start of the season, but the Mavs want him for the long run, then they could lean on keeping Dalembert on the roster to back up Zaza at the center position.
So will Maurice Ndour defy the odds and beat out a guaranteed contract player for a final roster spot?