Mavericks: Nicolo Melli could be Dallas’ secret weapon in the playoffs

Dallas Mavericks Nicolo Melli Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks Nicolo Melli Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dallas Mavericks, Nicolo Melli
Dallas Mavericks Nicolo Melli Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Nicolo Melli is a clear upgrade over Dwight Powell

It is always devastating when one of the most likable players on the team becomes borderline unplayable. This is starting to become the case for Dallas’s own Dwight Powell.

Last season, Powell was a revelation. He supplied underrated rim protection and elite vertical spacing. Since his Achilles injury, however, Powell has been unable to provide either facet reliably.

Of the regular rotation players, Powell has one of the worst BPMs (box plus-minus), a stat that calculates a player’s contributions compared to a league-average player on an average team. Using traditional stats, Powell is shooting over 10 percent worse from the floor than he was last season. This is largely due to how his Achilles injury has affected his athleticism.

Before his injury, Powell could use his vertical to finish over and through defenders. This year, he’s shooting over 14 percent worse on attempts within five feet, per NBA Stats.

Next. Does it matter if Doncic and Porzingis are close?

Even in his diminished state, Powell has been an above-average bench player thus far. Nevertheless, with his obvious struggles, it might be worth giving Melli an extended look before the playoffs begin to see if he can offer more off the bench than Powell can at this point in his career. Look for Coach Carlisle to increase Melli’s involvement to help the Mavs down the stretch.