Johnathan Motley has been called up from the G-League and it is time to make room for him in the rotation.
With the hypothetical “61st pick” in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected Johnathan Motley.
Obviously, there are only 60 picks in a NBA Draft, but many teams in the league believe a huge part of the draft process starts after the draft with the undrafted player pool. Many people across the league call this the “61st pick”.
Johnathan Motley was a 6’10” big man at Baylor with a 7’4″ wingspan. During his last year at Baylor, he put up per-40 numbers of 22 points and 12 rebounds a game. He also earned First Team All Conference honors of the Big 12 during his last season at Baylor.
Before the 2017 NBA Draft, Johnathan Motley was ranked 39th on the DraftExpress draft board and many draft experts across the league had him pegged as a first rounder.
After some worries around his meniscus and the fact that he was already 22 years old, Motley went undrafted on draft night only to find himself signing a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks a short time after.
With only 45 days allowed on the Mavericks, per the two-way contract rules, Motley has spent all season with the Texas Legends in the G-League where he has simply dominated in his short time there.
In his 12 games with the Legends to start the season, Motley averaged 22.7 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. He showed he can bang with the bigs down low while being able to pop out with an outside shot at the same time.
Sitting with a 7-18 record, the Dallas Mavericks made the call to Frisco to bring Motley up to the Mavericks where he joined the team in Milwaukee.
With the big time performances in the G-League and the youthfulness he brings to the team, Motley’s presence on the roster brought a buzz to the team and fan base over the past couple of days.
The Dallas Mavericks even tweeted out this video announcing his call up to the team.
So how did his debut go on his first night on the opening roster?
In the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Motley received a DNP-CD.
Could that have been because he hasn’t spent much practice time with the team? Possibly. But the question of his spot in the rotation is still a question that shouldn’t be a question moving forward.
With Dirk Nowitzki entrenched into the starting five-spot, this leaves Motley looking at taking minutes from Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri. In the loss to Milwaukee on Friday night, Powell logged 30 minutes, Kleber 24 minutes and Mejri one minute.
With the Mavericks sitting with a 7-19 record on the season and the worst record in the Western Conference, finding playing time for Motley should be a priority moving forward. Like the recent emergence of Kleber, you must focus on developing Motley so that you can see what you have in him moving forward.
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Then you factor in that Motley can only spend 45 days with the Mavericks and suddenly, games in which he receives DNP-CDs mean even more.
So where does his minutes come from?
Dirk’s minutes aren’t going anywhere and they shouldn’t. Kleber has been a sight for sore eyes over the past couple of weeks and should stay in the 20-25 range each game until Seth Curry returns.
Then you have Dwight Powell and Salah Mejri.
This is where Motley’s minutes have to come from.
Powell has played surprisingly well over the past 2-3 weeks and Mejri provides an unconventional spark off the bench, but in a rebuilding year, you must see what you have in your 22-year-old big man who has been dominating the G-League.
If it is truly time to “unleash the MOT”, then it is time to make room for him in the rotation moving forward.