Exclusive: Answer to Mavericks' defensive issues is staring them in the face

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks
Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

"Our physicality wasn't there tonight," and "We're small."

These were two comments from Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd after the Mavs lost to the New Orleans Pelicans at home on January 13. Dallas lost to a Pelicans team without CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram, and this game exposed that the Mavs' physicality can be a big factor in whether they win or lose games.

Dallas was outrebounded 44-34 in this game, and their defense wasn't the best either. The Mavericks' defensive issues have been prevalent over the last few weeks, especially with so many injuries, and their answer to these issues happens to already be on the roster.

Exclusive: Answer to Mavericks' defensive issues is staring them in the face

Dallas selected Olivier-Maxnece Prosper with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and he has had an up-and-down first couple of months in the NBA. Prosper has had games in which he puts on a show like he did against the Houston Rockets, and in other games, he doesn't play at all.

Prosper still has plenty to learn, and his game is raw, but his specialties happen to be the Mavericks' weaknesses. He is an excellent rebounder and defender, and his possession of positional size is something that the Mavs don't have much of.

Standing at 6-foot-8 and having a massive 7-foot-1 wingspan and a muscly frame, Prosper has the measurables and drive to be an elite defender in the NBA.

"I want to guard the best players in the world," Prosper told The Smoking Cuban. "This is just a stepping stone towards that. I believe I will be that [a defensive anchor] for the Mavs."

The Mavericks need another defensive stopper, and they have been looking to upgrade at the forward spot at the trade deadline. A forward upgrade via trade to help this team defensively is a need, but Prosper's defensive skills are also something that this team could utilize right now.

"[I provide] a lot of versatility, I got great length, and I'm pretty tall too, so I can move very quickly with the smaller guards and be a disruptor," Prosper told The Smoking Cuban. "That's the biggest thing. Be a disruptor; a guy who can get his hands on the ball, be a defensive rebounder, and switch onto smaller guards and keep them in front."

Prosper has the want and the measurables to be an elite defender in the NBA, and he could be the exact defensive boost that the Mavs need.

Along with Prosper's elite defense, he also possesses a work ethic that seemingly the entire organization raves about.

"I've loved O-Max [Prosper] since I first saw him," Mavericks forward Greg Brown III told The Smoking Cuban. "He works hard as (expletive)...I think his development has gotten a lot better. The game is slowing down for him."

Prosper said that one of his biggest improvements playing in the G League with the Texas Legends this season has been how the game is slowing down for him and how he is more comfortable on the floor. His defense has also continued to develop.

"O-Max [Prosper] is a dawg on defense," Brown III told The Smoking Cuban. "It's only going to get better from here. I'm excited to see where his game is going to go."

Brown III had high praise for Prosper throughout his entire interview, and this young duo could have the chance to make some noise on this Mavs roster.

For all the latest on Olivier-Maxence Prosper and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned.