Heading into Las Vegas Summer League, the expectations were fairly straight forward. The Mavericks hoped to see offensive consistency and defensive stopper potential from second year forward Jae Crowder. Center Bernard James was to dominate the glass and finish around the rim. Rookies Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo needed to show some sort of basketball skill translatable to the NBA. Gal Mekel simply needed to show that he belonged on an NBA roster.
Then the rubber met the road. Larkin broke his ankle in a freak accident in practice. Bernard James played one game, then sat with an illness, then went back to Dallas before getting cut this morning. Jae Crowder played four games then sprained his ankle, missing the remainder of game action.
Adversity provides opportunity, however, and a number Maverick Summer League players have shown they might be solid additions to an NBA roster, if given the chance. In particular, Jackie Carmichael has made the most of his time during Summer League action. At the moment, Dallas has 12 roster spots filled. It’s worth giving Carmichael a look for one of the remaining roster spots; a source within the organization told TMG that he believes Carmichael may get an opportunity with another team if Dallas passes on him. With Bernard James getting cut, Dallas is down to three big men in Dirk Nowitzki, the recently signed Samuel Dalembert, and eventual resignee Brendan Wright. Shawn Marion will probably play more power forward this season, but the Mavericks are still in need of a capable emergency big man capable of giving them spot minutes and hustle.
Jackie Carmichael is that player. Over six Las Vegas Summer League games, he gave Dallas 22 minutes, 9.5 points on 62% shooting, 4.2 rebounds, and a block and a half. Those numbers might not blow you away. In Summer League, minutes are sporatic as coaches try different line ups and rotations to see what players can do in different nights. His effectiveness in limited action was eye opening.
The first game of Summer League, Carmichael played only five minutes. His play showed the coaches something worth seeing again. But in game four against the Clippers, Carmichael was the main offensive option for Dallas, putting up 23 points and nine rebounds in only 26 minutes. In game five against the Warriors, he showed another aspect to his game, tying the summer league record with seven blocks to go along with 12 points and seven rebounds. His hustle was impressive throughout his time in Vegas and his timing improved with each game.
Though his seven block game was impressive, his game to game defense was solid as well. Carmichael challenged shots hard, which is not easy to do when playing team defense with a group of guys who are essentially strangers. This sort of skill can’t be overlooked for a team which may very well lack defensive grit.
The former Illinois State product went undrafted this year and was a late addition to the Maverick Summer League roster. He earned his minutes, demonstrating hustle and versatility. He also earned some consideration from the Dallas front office for a camp invite and possibly a spot on the roster.
Be sure to check out TMG’s Bryan Gutierrez as he contributes to ESPN Dallas during LSVL.
Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.