After much wait, the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament is now in full swing. Four teams remain, and although the Dallas Mavericks are not one of them, they've seen plenty of success to start the season.
Dallas sits at fourth in the Western Conference, with a 12-8 record after Wednesday night's victory over the Utah Jazz. However, at this early juncture, the race in the West is jam-packed. Dallas is only four games back from first, but also just two and a half games from 11th.
The offense is ho-hum, averaging the 6th most points in the association at 118.2. The Mavericks make and attempt the most 3-pointers per game. They also play at a fast pace, the 9th fastest in the league.
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Coincidentally, Dallas doesn't do much damage from the paint. The Mavs are second-to-last in the NBA in points per game. Only a little more than a third of the Mavs' points come from paint baskets.
Dallas is set with perimeter shooters but lacks interior scorers. Only five players shoot more than 25 percent of their attempts from within three feet. One of those players, Dereck Lively II has done an unreal job as the starting center. Dallas has also struggled mightily on defense.
But other than Lively II, the Mavs lack quality frontcourt contributors. Moreover, the Mavericks bigs are all up there in age. Sans Lively II, every other Maverick taller than 6-foot-9 is above the age of 30.
Dallas is due for an upgrade at the backup five. Additionally, Dallas is due for an infusion of youth across the entire frontcourt. The Mavericks did a fantastic job of revitalizing the roster with youth over the offseason, but the movement should only continue.
This is where former second-overall pick James Wiseman enters the picture. Throughout his career, Wiseman has all but underperformed. Nonetheless, he was deemed a top prospect for a reason.
The 7-foot-1 big man offers an exciting combination of size and athleticism. He's also offered glimpses of shooting potential. Wiseman certainly passes the eye test, but his in-game results have been less than stellar.
Unfortunately for Wiseman, he hasn't been put in a position to succeed. First, he kicked off his career on the veteran-laden Golden State Warriors squad before being traded to the young Detroit Pistons, who are loaded at the center position.
Here, we'll grade a hypothetical trade involving Dallas and Detroit. Another change of scenery might be just what Wiseman needs to finally begin tapping into his potential.