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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1. Dante Exum

Dallas Mavericks veteran guard Dante Exum was a phenomenal player for Dallas over the first half of the season and even had a stretch when he was a dominant starter. Exum was someone who Dallas could rely upon on both ends of the floor.

Exum has battled several injuries this season and has not looked like himself since returning. This season for Dallas, Exum is averaging 8.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 0.5 steals per game while shooting 56.2 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from downtown. These are phenomenal shooting numbers, but Exum has had a slow start since returning from injury.

It's clear that the Mavs want to ease him back into things before ramping up his minutes again, but Exum returning to his top form is important for Dallas. The Mavs opted to not sign a backup point guard after missing out on Spencer Dinwiddie, and now that Jaden Hardy isn't really in the rotation, the Mavs need Exum to fully embrace his role off the bench and be a creator.

Exum's job will also become easier if those around him can knock down shots, and his threat as a 3-point shooter remains as strong as ever.

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