The Dallas Mavericks need to forget the embarrassing weekend that included losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls. But if there is any silver lining in the weird schedule and brutal beatings, it is that recently signed guard Kemba Walker enjoyed his debut in Chicago Saturday night.

Walker scored eight points and pitched in five assists, two rebounds, and one block in 20 minutes of game action. It’s a far cry from what Walker used to do on the floor. But given that the 32-year-old Walker hasn’t played basketball in ten months, Saturday night was a good place to start.

There were flashes of brilliance, but only for fleeting moments. Nothing held with a sense of permanency. Standing out, however, was the reality being Dallas didn’t sign Walker to be a primary difference maker with Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie. He is on the team to offer a perspective, not overwhelming production.

Instead of 25-30 minutes a night, like many initially expected, Walker will most likely play sparingly on most nights. And he’ll probably play more on nights like Saturday in Chicago, where the heavy lifters in the rotation — Doncic, Maxi Kleber, and Josh Green — aren’t available. Which — for where Walker currently sits in his career — is fine.

“I thought Kemba did a good job of getting us organized offensively and defensively,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “When you look at it, there were only two guys that were in the positive, and he was one of them, him and Reggie [Bullock]. In a game like that, that’s almost impossible to do, but those two were positives and so Kemba did a really good job.”

Walker’s limited role doesn’t mean Mavericks fans won’t see him play alongside Doncic. After the loss to the Bulls, Kidd said that is a real possibility.

“We’ll get a chance to see those two play together, it’s early in the season so we have a lot of basketball left to play,” Kidd said. “When Luka comes back hopefully we can get those two on the floor together.”

But don’t expect Walker to be Doncic’s running mate. That isn’t where he’s at as a player anymore. He can still contribute to winning basketball. But it comes in moments. It’s unsteady. It’s unpredictable.

However, if Walker can continue to offer a veteran’s perspective, while also playing spot minutes from night to night, the Mavericks are receiving exactly what they expected when they signed him back in November.

“It was most definitely a great feeling,” Walker said of returning to the floor. “I worked hard to get myself back to this level.”

Related Dallas Mavericks reading

“Tim Hardaway Jr. now shares a list with select Hall of Famers.” 

“The critical truth the Mavericks revealed about key prospects moving forward.” 

“Kemba Walker signs with the Mavericks, here is what to expect.” 

“The dizzying statistic that confirms what many know about the Mavericks.” 

Feature image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports