Grades for every Dallas Mavericks player ahead of the trade deadline

Dec 6, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates with Dallas
Dec 6, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates with Dallas / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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16. A.J. Lawson (Two-Way)

One of the more disregarded contributors to this Mavericks' season is A.J. Lawson. Recently, Lawson has scratched and clawed himself into the fringes of the Mavericks' rotation after not getting any action for Dallas until early December. Lawson certainly isn't in Dallas' main rotation, but he's the first wing to come into the game if any of Dallas' wings aren't playing.

Lawson started this season with the Texas Legends averaging 20.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game through seven games of action, but he's been with Dallas' main roster ever since despite being on a two-way deal. Unlike Brown III and Williams, Lawson has seen action during significant junctures of games for Dallas this season, and it is very clear that he's grown immensely as a player since we first saw him suit up for the Mavericks in the 2022 NBA Summer League.

Lawson has put on some muscle since first entering the league, and it's reflected in his point of attack defense for Dallas this season. When he's gotten his opportunities, Lawson has added a burst of energy to the Mavericks defense, as he is routinely diving for loose balls and using his physical tools well as a help defender.

Like Brown III, Lawson has proven that he's warranted more minutes, but Mavs' coach Jason Kidd has been reluctant to put him in against better opponents as well as for extended stretches. Lawson needs to improve his outside shot some, but it's looked solid after he recently revamped his mechanics. Lawson has been a consummate professional through his season and a half in Dallas and has only gotten better, so he lands a B+ at this juncture in the season.

midseason grades 16. B+. Has brought great athleticism and defense at the point of attack and in transition. Hasn't gotten too many extended opportunities and could serve to improve three-point shot. A.J. Lawson