Former NBA Champion Urged to Step up for Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks, JaVale McGee

Getty JaVale McGee #00 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against the Dallas Mavericks.

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks shocked the basketball community by making the Western Conference Finals. While they couldn’t overcome the Golden State Warriors, they still shattered any and all expectations.

Following this deep playoff run, the Mavericks are a team many will have their eyes on in the Western Conference. To replicate their success from last season, a collective effort will be needed around star guard Luka Doncic.

In a recent story for Bleacher Report, Mo Dakhil listed players that need to step up for each NBA team in 2023. For the Mavericks, new additions Christian Wood and JaVale McGee were chosen, specifically for their presence on the glass.

The Mavericks made a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals last year but once they got there their lack of size really caught up with them. That is why newly acquired Christian Wood and JaVale McGee have to play big for Dallas this season.

In the playoffs, Dallas had the lowest rebound percentage of any team and the second lowest blocks per game. They were outrebounded by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference by 11 rebounds a night.

Given that the main players Dallas brought in this summer were bigs, it’s clear that size was a point of emphasis for the front office. In terms of rebounding, Christian Wood is coming off a career year. He grabbed 10.1 boards a night for the Rockets, while JaVale McGee averaged 6.7 off the bench for the Phoenix Suns.

Mark Cuban High on Additions of JaVale McGee and Christian Wood

While the Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson in free agency, they still managed to salvage their offseason. For teams looking to compete, having established veterans is essential. To add more experience to the roster, Dallas brought in former NBA champion JaVale McGee.

During a recent interview, Mark Cuban talked about what he hopes the veteran big man can bring to the Mavericks. Along with leadership and experience, he also mentioned helping on the glass. “To be a defensive and rebounding presence. To give our guys the value of his playoff and championship experience,” said Cuban.

Another player Cuban is high on heading into this season is Christian Wood. So far, he has loved everything he’s seen from the 26-year-old in workouts.

He has been incredible in workouts. We are really, really excited to see what he can do … I think his shot creation and shooting are far better than people realize. He will be really good defensively in our system because he is long and mobile.

Former Mavs Guard Wins Drew League Championship

During the offseason, players spend their time doing an array of things. Some take the downtime as a chance to let their bodies recuperate, while others spend countless hours in the gym.

Another route players go to get live reps is by competing in pro-ams. One of the most notable leagues is the Drew League, which regularly sees an array of NBA talent.

On August 21st, the Drew League held its championship matchup. Among the players on the winning team was former Mavericks guard Delon Wright. He appeared in 73 games for Dallas during the 2019-20 campaign and averaged 6.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 3.3 APG.

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