After finding the diamond in the rough in Yogi Ferrell, Rick Carlisle believes Ferrell’s role in the league could be a utility player off the bench.
On January 28th, the Dallas Mavericks gave Yogi Ferrell a 10-day contract after injuries to their back court.
On February 7th, the Dallas Mavericks signed Yogi Ferrell to a multi-year contract.
In between his signings, Ferrell led the Mavericks to a 4-1 record with wins over San Antonio, Cleveland, and Portland. He most notably burst onto the scene when he scored 32 points in the win over Portland that was followed up with a multi-year deal just a few days later.
Suddenly, the Mavericks had a young face at the point guard spot and everyone started to look into the future. Is he the starting point guard of the future? Will he come back to Earth and play like an actual 10-day contract? Will he spend his career coming off the bench?
Deron Williams came back and started three more games before getting waived at the trade deadline. It was now time for Yogi Ferrell to take the reins at point guard.
Ferrell would go on to start the next 14 games and lead the Mavericks to an 8-6 record over that span. Ferrell’s 14 games as the starter ended on Thursday night when Rick Carlisle said it was time to try out some new things in the lineup (read more about that here).
“I don’t know that he is going to be a starter in this league” -Carlisle on Yogi Ferrell
Carlisle inserted Nerlens Noel into the starting lineup and moved Seth Curry to point guard, thus pushing Yogi Ferrell to the bench. But it wasn’t just the bench, the move made Ferrell the third guard off the bench behind Devin Harris and J.J. Barea.
Now, adjusting to his new role, Ferrell has logged right at 17 minutes over the last two games. Both games, Ferrell has come off the bench and given the Mavericks a spark on both ends of the court.
I asked Rick Carlisle how he thought Ferrell adjusted to his new bench role after the Clippers game and he responded with what he thinks Ferrell’s role will be in this league.
"“I think ultimately his position on this team in the league will be that kind of utility player. We have been successful with him as a starter but I don’t know that he is going to be a starter in this league,” Carlisle said."
These are strong, but truthful, words coming from Carlisle about Ferrell. Many had speculated over the past month or so about Ferrell’s long-term status at the starting point guard spot and Carlisle looks to have put an end to that speculation.
The most ironic thing about Ferrell getting moved to the bench against the Clippers is that it was the same night the NBA presented him with his Rookie of the Month award for February.
“What is interesting to me is he gets the Rookie of the Month award the night he gets pulled from starting lineup. Which goes to show you no good deed goes unpunished in this league,” Carlisle said joking.
Even though Carlisle admits he doesn’t know if Ferrell is a starter in the league, he did go on to praise the undrafted rookie and how he has the makeup for success in the league.
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“The question is how do players respond? He responded by being absolutely ready. He went in and had big impact on the game…as a young guy, keeping yourself ready and understanding you have to develop a definable skill set to bring to a team and being able to execute it whether you are starter, first off bench, or third point guard off the bench which he was last night,” Carlisle said. “That’s what success in this league is all about.”
Ferrell has came off the bench now for two games and has been impressive in both games. If Ferrell does provide the Mavericks with a J.J. Barea-type bench role moving into the future, Dallas will have some decisions to make this offseason with Barea and Harris moving forward.
Whether Ferrell is trying to prove Carlisle wrong about his long-term role or not, his play off the bench is not going unnoticed.
Either way, it looks as if Ferrell will be a bench player moving forward in Dallas.