Health of Mavericks veteran guard will be crucial over final stretch of season

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

When the Dallas Mavericks signed Dante Exum over the summer, it was a move that puzzled many fans.

It seemed confusing that Dallas was signing a player who had been out of the league for multiple seasons, but the doubters looked foolish almost immediately after seeing how well Exum was playing to start the season on both ends of the floor.

Exum became a crucial piece of the roster, as he is one of Dallas' most versatile defenders, and became a deadly 3-point shooter off the catch as he is shooting 47.7 percent from downtown on 2.0 attempts per game. His shooting numbers from overseas carried over to the NBA, and Exum has proved that he belongs in the league.

Health of Mavericks veteran guard will be crucial over final stretch of season

This season, Exum is averaging 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 0.6 steals per game. This is the best that Exum has ever played on the offensive end of the floor, and his defense has been stellar as well.

Even though Exum has been great when he is on the floor, one of his biggest weaknesses has returned.

Exum has missed 23 games so far this season, with his most recent injury being right knee bursitis. He has been out of the lineup since January 26, and he is someone that Dallas needs.

Outside of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Mavs don't have a true point guard who can lead the second unit when both of those players are off the floor. Ideally, either Doncic or Irving is on the court for most of the game, but it's clear they need one more creator.

The improved play of Jaden Hardy has seemed to remove their need for a true backup point guard, but even then, it would be nice for them to have one more solid guard off the bench who can create and defend. Exum has proven that he can be all of that and more, but his health has partially derailed an excellent season.

If Exum can stay healthy once returning, the sky is the limit for this Mavericks team. Fans forget how great Exum has been this season when he is at his best, and he must return to playing assertively and with confidence.

During his brief return at the end of January, Exum was not playing like the same player he was throughout the early parts of the season, and hopefully, he can regain the confidence that he once had.

For all the latest on Dante Exum and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.