Shorthanded Mavs Add Former Top-10 Pick Big Man, Defensive Guard

Theo Pinson

Maddie Meyer/Getty Theo Pinson

The Dallas Mavericks are signing a couple of veterans to combat the recent losses COVID-19 has dealt to the team. On Monday the Athletic first reported the team was signing guard Theo Pinson to a hardship contract. Then Monday afternoon Chris Haynes of Yahoo reported they were signing forward Marquese Chriss, the No. 8 pick in the 2106 draft, to a hardship contract as well.

The moves come after the Mavs lost wings Reggie Bullock and Josh Green to health and safety protocols over the weekend. The team also lost assistant coaches Jared Dudley and Darrell Armstrong for the same reason. The last week has been rough for the Mavs with injuries as well, as Luka Doncic is out with an ankle injury and Kristaps Porzingis left Sunday night’s game against the Timberwolves with a foot injury.

What Pinson Gives the Mavs

For Pinson the Mavs will be his third team in his fourth season in the NBA. He’s previously played for the Nets and Knicks and has never played more than 33 games in a season. Pinson is best known as a standout defender, but has struggled with his shot even going back to his college days. He’s been a career 20.1% three point shooter in the NBA and shot just 25.7% from three during his time at North Carolina.

Pinson has been playing in the G-League this season and appears to have made strides as an offensive player and he’s improved his shot. In nine games for the Maine Celtics he’s averaged 16.4 points per game while shooting 40.5% from three. If those trends continue then Pinson could be a worthy replacement for Bullock and Green. With his defensive ability and the Mavs’ struggles in that area, if he can hit shots, it’s possible that Pinson could earn a more permanent spot with the team.

How Chriss Can Help

Chriss played well for the Warriors in 2019-20 averaging 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in 59 games. He returned to the Warriors last season, but broke his right fibula two games into the season. He signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Blazers during the fall, but didn’t make the roster.

So the question with Chriss is, does he return to his 2019-20 form? If he does then this is a nice pickup for the Mavs as it will give them some depth on the interior, something the team has lacked. Chriss can provide some athleticism inside on both the offensive and defensive end, along with giving the Mavs someone who can get easy buckets. He could also be a nice addition as a possible mentor for young big man Moses Brown.

Looking Ahead

The moves the Mavs made today look like they’ll become common across the league for the time being as the omicron variant continues to surge across the country. If the surge continues through the winter months, how well teams are able to fill their holes with hardship contracts could become pivotal for playoff seeding.

Even with the moves today it’s going to be hard for the Mavs to replace the offensive production they lose with Doncic and Porzingis out of the lineup. It’ll be up to the likes of Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr. and others to step up in big ways while both are out.

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