Dwight Powell a bright spot for Mavericks in the early going
With Dirk Nowitzki‘s tremendous start to the season, Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons suiting up sooner than many expected, and the DeAndre drama that had engulfed the franchise leading up to the big man’s first trip to Dallas, the play of second year forward Dwight Powell has gotten a little lost in the mix.
It’s understandable; Dirk should dominate the headlines, and despite some predictable ups and downs Matthews has looked very good. His performance against the Clippers alone just about validated that max deal the Mavericks handed him this summer.
But now it’s time to talk about Dwight. Through ten games Powell has averaged 10.9 points on 55.6% shooting from the floor, an output good for third on the team behind Nowitzki and Deron Williams. His 8.1 rebounds a night, in just over 21 minutes per, are the second most on the team.
Ten games is still a pretty small sample size, but it’s evident by now that talk of Powell’s improvements over the summer was warranted. He appeared in 24 games for the Mavericks a season ago, totaling 227 minutes, 81 points, and 49 rebounds. In 217 minutes so far this season Powell has eclipsed both of those last two figures, already recording 109 points and 81 rebounds. He’s also upped his shooting percentage by 12 points.
Obviously the improved offense from Powell is nice. He’s doing a much better job this season moving without the ball, making hard, definitive cuts, and though his hands were a bit of an issue last year he’s much improved at corralling the ball in traffic and making a move to the hoop.
But the area in which Powell has really impressed is rebounding. As mentioned, Powell is second on the team with 8.1 boards a night. Powell attacks the glass, taking advantage of his athleticism, and improved strength and timing. He grabbed two big boards late in the game against the Lakers, giving him 12 on the night and helping to secure the Maverick victory, and is grabbing almost 30% of available defensive rebounds while he’s on the floor.
Powell is a big reason why the Mavericks haven’t been a disaster on the glass so far, as many expected. In fact, Dallas currently sits at fifth in the league in total rebounds, with two of the four ahead of them playing an extra game. The Mavericks’ ability to hold their own in that area will go a long way in helping the team get into the postseason.
And while he still tends to get outmuscled at times by opposing bigs, a common sight last year, Powell has gotten strong enough over the offseason to put up much more of a fight. He looked great at times defending Anthony Davis in the teams’ back-to-back meetings recently, and did a good job holding his own physically against the talented Clippers frontline in those two games.
It stands to reason that as the season goes on, and Powell develops further, he will only continue to get better. This is great for the Mavericks, who are still waiting to get JaVale McGee on the floor to bolster the front line. But Powell’s play so far has helped Mavericks fans forget about McGee’s lengthy recovery process, and even if the offseason acquisition comes back as an impactful player, Powell has earned himself a significant role on the team.
Last year’s move has officially become “The Dwight Powell trade”.
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