Mavericks urged to target 21-year-old big man with crazy defensive upside

After being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder, Usman Garuba could be an interesting target for the Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas Mavericks, Usman Garuba, NBA Free Agency
Dallas Mavericks, Usman Garuba, NBA Free Agency / Bob Levey/GettyImages

Over the course of this offseason, the Dallas Mavericks have completely reshaped their roster after an embarrassing end to this past season that saw them miss out on the postseason entirely.

Dallas traded for Grant Williams and Richaun Holmes, drafted Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, signed Seth Curry and Dante Exum, and re-signed Kyrie Irving and Dwight Powell.

All of the moves were made in an attempt to bolster the roster around Luka Doncic and give the Mavericks the best chance possible to make a serious playoff run next year.

And while all the moves they have made have been great, there still may be room for improvement for Dallas as they attempt to compete in a stacked Western Conference.

Mavericks urged to target Usman Garuba in free agency

The Oklahoma City Thunder just recently waived big man Usman Garuba, who they acquired earlier this summer in a deal with the Houston Rockets, and Jack Bonin of Mavs Moneyball thinks the Mavericks should try to scoop him up.

Garuba was the 23rd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and has spent the first two seasons of his NBA career with the Rockets. After appearing in just 24 games his rookie year, he played in 75 this past season, averaging 3.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The big man plays most of his minutes at the center position despite being just 6-foot-8, but he’s known for his presence on the defensive side of the ball.

Bonin pointed toward Garuba’s defensive presence as a primary reason for the Mavericks to go after him.

"As you can see, Garuba provides versatility and defensive playmaking. He’s strong and has good size at 6’8, with the footspeed to keep up with quicker perimeter players. Simply put, he is a disruptor on that end of the floor."

Jack Bonin, Mavs Moneyball

He even went as far as saying that Garuba reminds him of a big-man version of Josh Green. And if Garuba can be anything close to that, it would definitely be worth it for Dallas to take a chance on him.

At just 21 years old, Garuba still has plenty of time to develop into a solid NBA player, and with Doncic leading the way in Dallas, his raw offensive game could be simplified.

Garuba is completely unpolished on the offensive end, but if all he would have to do is set screens and catch lobs from Doncic, he could definitely find a niche.

It would certainly be tough for Garuba to earn regular minutes in the Mavericks’ rotation right away, but with his defensive impact and potential on that end of the court, he could be a great high-upside prospect for Dallas to add to the roster.