Dwight Powell Enters His Most Important Training Camp

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 09: Dwight Powell /

After another mediocre year in Dallas, Dwight Powell is entering his most important training camp of his career.

It was just last year that Dwight Powell hit free agency and by the surprise of some, signed a long-term deal with the Dallas Mavericks that ended up being a four-year, $37 million deal.

The perspective on him changed drastically.

Once looked at as the second round pick with potential that came over in the Rajon Rondo trade, now, Powell had $37 million attached to his name with new expectations from the front office and fanbase.

After signing the deal and becoming the fourth highest paid player on the team, Powell didn’t come close to meeting expectations.

Powell averaged 17 minutes a game while averaging 6.7 points a game and four rebounds a game. All career averages but still not the production a team would want from a young piece making $9 million a year.

Not only that, but Powell found himself logging under 10 minutes a night on plenty of occasions with five DNP-CD’s in the second half of the season.

Yes, on a 33 win Dallas team that is getting younger and rebuilding, the 25-year-old player who is making $9 million a year could barely see the court. This wasn’t and isn’t the greatest sign for Powell moving forward.

Now, Powell has even more competition come training camp as Dallas has added some solid competition for Powell.

Enter Johnathan Motley.

I asked Donnie Nelson on draft night about moving back into the draft and he said they were working on it, but noted the “61st” pick also in his response in reference to bringing in the undrafted guys.

Dallas struck a deal over the next couple of days after the draft with arguably the highest ranked prospect not drafted in big man Johnathan Motley out of Baylor.

Motley was ranked 39th on DraftExpress’ big board heading into the draft. This was higher than Tony Bradley, Josh Hart and others. But due to a meniscus injury at Baylor, teams were weary about drafting him.

The Mavericks swooped in and signed Motley to one of the NBA’s newer contracts called a “two-way” contract that allows the player to spend time both with the team and their D-League affiliate. The investment was made in Motley, and now he will be there to prove it come camp time  at the same position Dwight Powell plays.

Now, enter Brandon Ashley.

After impressive Summer League performances in both Orlando and Las Vegas, Brandon Ashley found himself being rewarded on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks announced they had signed the big man to a contract.

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Ashley is a 6’9″ forward with a 7’3″ wingspan that gave the Mavs a versatile presence on both ends of the floor in Summer League. In Vegas, he even seemed to form a sense of chemistry with the Mavericks’ top ten draft pick, Dennis Smith Jr.

He showed his ability to run the floor and fill the paint while also showing an improved outside shot from just two years ago where he was a training camp invite for the Mavericks. He comes to camp hungrier than ever, fighting for the same position as Dwight Powell.

For Powell, nows his time to show he’s worth the money that Dallas has invested in him. Nows the time to come to camp and let your game show that you are hands and feet over both Motley and Ashley. Nows the time to leave no room for a position battle and show that you have finally improved your game.

Will he do it?

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Nobody knows, but if Dwight Powell gets passed up once again in the depth chart by either Motley or Ashley, then his future in the league could be ticking…even if he’s making $9 million a year.