5 Mavericks players who must play better down the stretch to boost playoff chances

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks
New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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3. Derrick Jones Jr.

The Dallas Mavericks made one of the best veteran minimum signings in the NBA over the offseason when they signed Derrick Jones Jr. to a one-year deal, but after his scorching hot start as a shooter, his numbers have declined a bit.

This season, Jones Jr. is averaging 9.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from downtown. This remains Jones Jr.'s best 3-point shooting season of his career, but the Mavs need a little bit more out of him to help boost their playoff chances.

Jones Jr. is no longer the starting small forward, but he is still receiving consistent playing time. He was averaging 17.5 minutes per game before Dallas' Tuesday night matchup with the Indiana Pacers and played for 26 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Jones Jr. finished with 21 points in this game while shooting 5-5 from downtown, and the Mavs need more games like this from him off the bench. They don't need him to do this every game, but having him be a consistent and reliable shooter down the stretch is important.

Jones Jr. also hasn't looked as confident as a driver lately, and having that confidence return would be an added plus.