The Dallas Mavericks worked tirelessly all offseason to try and improve their defense, but so far they are still struggling mightily on the defensive end despite a solid 9-5 start.
Dallas’ lack of positional size at the wing position is starting to really become costly, as starting power forward Grant Williams has good lower body strength and size but struggles to compete against longer wings defensively despite how well he has fit early on.
Dallas' other starter on the wing, Derrick Jones Jr., is essentially the polar opposite of Williams on defense, as his athleticism and length give him the ability to stay with quicker guards and wings, but his lack of size hurts him when guarding more stout offensive opponents.
Solution to Mavericks' huge weakness is staring them in the face
The Mavericks have suffered defending the point of attack all season, and it doesn’t help that recently extended fourth-year guard Josh Green has been reverting back to some of the bad tendencies that plagued him on defense in his first two seasons.
Dallas also hasn’t gotten much of a boost from Olivier-Maxence Prosper this season either, as the rookie will hopefully find a consistent role with the team once he gets an opportunity as he will be ready for the spotlight soon. While the immediate reaction for Dallas would be to go find a trade, they may have one of the best possible options to help aid their perimeter defensive woes sitting right in their backyard.
The Dallas Mavericks’ G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, fielded a pretty decent roster ahead of their season kicking off. Among these names on the roster, of course, is Dallas Mavericks two-way wing A.J. Lawson.
Lawson has shown he can be a valuable 3-and-D piece who can add some dynamism on offense as well. Lawson has played well throughout his past two tenures at the NBA Summer League with Dallas and proved he is good enough to warrant NBA minutes at the end of last season with Dallas.
Through three games with the Texas Legends so far this season, Lawson is averaging 24.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and is shooting the ball at a 57.1 percent clip from the field. Lawson has enough explosiveness and dynamism with the ball in his hands to be a rotation piece off the bench in Dallas, but Lawson will need to continue to prove his worth on the defensive end if he wants a chance at cracking the Mavericks' rotation.
Lawson’s main issue on defense is the fact that he gets bullied when opponents are attacking downhill because of his size, but the 23-year-old Canada native looks like he’s put on some size since we first saw him in a Mavericks Summer League uniform in 2022 and is a pretty good defender in all other facets.
Lawson has been hard at work with Legends and Mavericks staff all summer, so only time will tell if the Mavericks want to call up Lawson in hopes of him helping out some of their defensive issues. For more on A.J. Lawson and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned as we will have you covered.