Exclusive: Mavericks rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper is ready for the spotlight

Sep 29, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper (18) poses for a
Sep 29, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper (18) poses for a / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks have had one of their best starts in recent memory and are sitting at 8-2 after Sunday night's win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving dominated in this game, and they have clearly cemented themselves as a top pairing in the NBA. They've finally had some time to play with each other and have completely flipped the narrative from last year that they wouldn't work together.

The Mavericks have their third In-Season Tournament game tonight against the Pelicans, and one Mav could see the floor more than he has all season.

Exclusive: Mavericks rookie Olivier-Maxence Prosper is ready for the spotlight

His name is Olivier-Maxence Prosper, and he is ready for the spotlight of being a rotation player in the NBA.

Dallas traded for Prosper on draft night, and he has been a fan favorite ever since stepping foot in Dallas. Prosper didn't play much to start the season, but with Maxi Kleber's toe injury, he could be someone that Dallas leans on when they need size or a spark of energy.

"I'm ready for it [potential increased playing time]," Prosper told The Smoking Cuban. "I've put in the work. A lot of hours behind the scenes that nobody has seen...Whatever my opportunity is, I'm going to come in and do what my role is; impact the game defensively, rebound, and knock down open shots."

One of the most important things that head coach Jason Kidd was looking for during the preseason was seeing how Prosper fit next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. Prosper was in the starting lineup to begin the preseason, and he was someone that Dallas could have started on the wing to start the year.

Prosper ultimately ended up getting outplayed by some of Dallas' other wings, causing him to lose that starting spot, but he understands the importance of fitting next to Doncic and Irving and being a complimentary piece when on the floor with that star duo.

"I feel like I fit great [next to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving]," Prosper told The Smoking Cuban. "Being a strong physical wing that can come in and help them defensively and on offense be able to knock down shots, cut, get to the rim, get fouled. I feel like I play great off of those two."

Through Dallas' first few games, Prosper didn't get to play much, but Kidd sent him to the G League on Saturday to get some on-court action before the Mavericks' road trip to New Orleans.

Going into his G League debut, Kidd emphasized that he wanted Prosper to play hard, do his job, and stay healthy.

Prosper did all of those things.

In his G League debut, he finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block. He got going in the second half after a rough first half and showed the type of impact he can make when he's on the floor.

"Honestly it was just about coming in and making the right play," Prosper told The Smoking Cuban. "Obviosuly being aggressive, doing the stuff that I've been working on so much on the side. It's just been great coming here; be[ing] aggressive, making plays for my teammates and myself."

He was making smart cuts, driving strong to the bucket, and shooting confidently from downtown. Prosper shot 3-10 from downtown, which isn't great, but the fact that he was letting it fly was a good sign. He didn't get many open looks during the preseason or his limited minutes during the regular season, and his game lacked flow and confidence (during the preseason), so seeing some volume from him was huge.

Although Prosper had a rough preseason, the raw talent was always there. Fans shouldn't expect a rookie to be ready to play heavy minutes right away, and Prosper has been working on adding to his game in every way possible since getting drafted.

He says his biggest improvement since getting drafted has been his ability to read the game. Prosper credited Dallas' veterans for helping him learn so much, and he says he's improved at anticipating different things happening during the game and being in the right spot at the right time.

Prosper's strong showing in the G League is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his game. He still has plenty to prove, and fans should be excited about him potentially cracking the rotation over the next few weeks.

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