Who to watch: Summer League 2018

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With the Orlando Summer League being abolished, the Mavericks only have one summer league roster to nourish in 2018. You can find the full roster here, courtesy of Nick Angstadt. Here’s who you need to watch, and what to expect from the roster:

  • Dennis Smith Jr: Everyone already knows what Dennis Smith is all about. However, he likely will be playing a role that will help him improve on his weaknesses that plagued him in the regular season- particularly shooting. Expect the franchise cornerstone to do a lot of spot up shooting and playing with another point guard on the floor in two-guard lineups.
  • Jacob Wiley- Lots of people considered Eastern Washington’s Jacob Wiley a sleeper prospect in the 2017 draft due to his length, athleticism, and rim protection. Wiley appeared in 5 games for the Nets in his rookie season after being signed to a two-way contract, but is still looking for a more permanent home. The key for Wiley will be to unlock his shooting potential. He took a total of 8 threes in college, but shot a tremendous percentage at the free throw line (82.7%). He will be battling Spalding and Motley for minutes and potentially for a training camp invite.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith: With Finney-Smith missing 61 games, expect the Mavericks to attempt to polish his shooting in the same way as the 2017 summer league- lots of spot up shooting opportunities. Finney-Smith is a solid athlete and excellent defender, but still needs to grow as a shooter, which would greatly help improve his career 98 offensive rating.
  • Jonathan Motley: Motley has had an interesting 12 months since going undrafted in 2017. He played in the 2017 summer league coming off of an injury, where he didn’t have his explosiveness back quite yet, meaning he wasn’t the same player he was coming out of college. Throughout the year in the G-League as a two-way player, he grew as an overall scorer. Motley also showed off his shooting touch from mid range and from 3. I was critical of Motley after the 2017 Summer League outing, but in hindsight I should have been more careful in judgement due to his injury and the effects of it on his performance. Expect Motley to play big minutes for the first few games.
  • Raymond Spalding: Spalding was the 56th pick of the NBA draft and ranked #32 on my big board (#4 PF). Spalding improved a lot as a scorer and ball handler, which was a big reason for his stock skyrocketing from off the radar in 2017 to a notable second round prospect in 2018. His best NBA role is likely in the Brandan Wright mold as a P&R threat, so look for Spalding to get a heavy look at the P&R with Dennis Smith early on. You can find my full Raymond Spalding scouting report here.
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo: Admittedly, I am not too familiar with the younger Antetokounmpo brother, but I am aware of his great tools. Look for some big highlights from Kostas, as well as strong defensive ability. Any offensive production is a bonus early on in his career.
  • Jalen Brunson: Brunson was my 15th overall player on my board- not far off from Dallas’ ranking of low 20s- and my #5 PG in the class. I often praised Brunson as having the highest floor in the draft, and he could not have been put in a better situation. I expect to see a few lineups with Brunson and Smith in a 2 guard lineup. You can read my full scouting report of Jalen Brunson here. Spoiler alert: there’s not many flaws.

These are the guys I see as having the best chance of getting minutes on the Mavericks’ roster this upcoming season. I left off Doncic only because of the news that he is likely to sit out the summer league due to rest.

This summer league roster has the potential to be one of the most entertaining squads the Mavericks have put together in years. The first game for Dallas will be Friday July 6 vs Phoenix.

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