The NBA Summer League proved what the Dallas Mavericks had a hunch of on NBA Draft night; Eugene Omoruyi has the potential to be good – maybe even great.
Dallas officially signed Omoruyi to a two-way contract on Friday after seeing what he can do against some NBA-level opponents in the first two games of Summer League. And now, through four games, Omoruyi averaged 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds.
He showed both a great feel for the game as well as defensive confidence in his on-court assignment. Omoruyi sits second on the team in minutes per game, and his intense motor – even in the face of big deficits and losses – is a shining bright spot on what has been a difficult four games in Las Vegas.
So, it begs the question: what can Omoruyi become in a Dallas uniform?
A positionless player:
It’s repeated so often that it’s growing cliche, but Omoruyi really is positionless. He can line up as a guard, or he can score on the block like a forward. On defense, Omoruyi guards one through five with effectiveness, and he rebounds with efficiency.
His game is all over the place. That’s intentional. When asked by reporters in Summer League training camp Omoruyi admitted to wanting to play a positionless style of basketball. He likened his game to Draymond Green and P.J. Tucker – two forwards who lack a definite position but contribute to winning basketball.
Throughout the Summer League, he’s backed up those claims. In his third game, facing the Denver Nuggets, Omoruyi scored 20 points on 8-13 from the field. From each spot on the floor, he scored with effervescent ease, only further muddling his position projection once on the Mavericks’ NBA roster. Recently, he’s only doubled down on his positionless claim, telling Doyle Rader of Mavs Moneyball that, “I feel like I’m positionless. I feel like I can do a lot of things to find my guys, shoot, dribble the ball up the court, run the play.”
Subsequently, Omoruyi added: “When it comes to defense, I’ll pick up anybody full court. I just, I do on both ends of the floor out there. I see myself as being me.”
Far from a finished product:
At 24 years old, Omoruyi is an older rookie. However, he is still extremely far from a finished basketball player. He picked up the game relatively late compared to his peers. And due to this, there are aspects of his game – playmaking and shooting consistency – that can still improve.
The good news for Mavericks fans is that Summer League head coach Greg St. Jean, who coached against Omoruyi in college, said that he’s gotten better every day that he’s stepped on the basketball court.
“One of the biggest things that stands out about Eugene is his versatility,” St. Jean said after a loss to the Denver Nuggets. “He’s a high character person and diligent worker. We are excited to have him.”
The game of basketball can be taught, but what can’t is work ethic. Omoruyi clearly has that. He may never become an NBA All-Star, but he has the potential to turn into a key role player on a good NBA team.
With one game left for the Mavericks in NBA Summer League against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Omoruyi has another chance to show the organization what he can be moving forward.
“I am grateful, and I am happy,” Omoruyi said of his two-way contract after a loss to the Denver Nuggets. “I want to do more, so I am just keeping my drive up.
“I have a competitive aspect that I always bring out on the court. I am going to do whatever it takes to win.”
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Feature image via Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports.