The Dallas Mavericks are shorthanded and searching for healthy bodies. Maxi Kleber will miss months with a torn hamstring. Josh Green and Dorian Finney-Smith have both missed multiple games and do not appear close to returning. Now, Kemba Walker has a knee issue, and Jaden Hardy is dealing with a back contusion. The injury bug has left Dallas with an all-hands-on-deck approach.
Head coach Jason Kidd played 11 of the 12 active players on Friday night in Houston with two-way player Tyler Dorsey being the only one that did not see the floor. Dorsey entered in garbage time of their Christmas Day blowout win over the Lakers in what would be his final game with the Mavericks.
Shams Charania reported that the Mavs were waiving Dorsey to sign A.J. Lawson to a two-way contract. Fans may remember the 6’6 wing from their summer league roster. Here is a look at the new addition and why the Mavericks made the swap.
Dallas Mavericks sign A.J. Lawson to 2-way contract: Waive Tyler Dorsey
It is not uncommon for teams to switch up their two-way players midseason. Some teams do it based on a need and others just take a chance on a player with more upside.
Dorsey had some massive games in the G League, but he played subpar defense and was strictly a spot-up shooting on the offensive end. The 26-year-old fell behind McKinley Wright IV and Jaden Hardy in the guard pecking order, which left little room for him to see minutes with the Mavericks.
Lawson is a wing that gives Dallas more defensive versatility. He was part of the Mavericks summer league roster where he was the team’s leading scorer. Lawson averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 0.8 steals in 29.5 minutes in his five games in Las Vegas. Fans wanted the Mavericks to sign him, but they already had Tyler Dorsey under contract and the Mavericks needed a point guard. McKinley Wright IV took the final spot and has played well.
Lawson is averaging 19.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in 33.5 minutes per game over 13 contests in the G League this season. He just exploded for a 32-point game to help his team win their sixth straight.
Dallas Mavericks fans should not expect too much. Two-way players rarely see consistent NBA minutes, but A.J. Lawson could crack the rotation in the short term as the Mavs deal with injuries. He gives them another healthy wing that will be committed on the defensive end, which is just what they need with Kleber, Finney-Smith, and Green sidelined.
The 22-year-old wing has plenty of room to grow too. Will he stick with the Dallas Mavericks? Stay tuned to see how Lawson performs both with the Mavs and Texas Legends this season to find out.