In the NBA Summer League, winning is nice, but it’s not the priority. Player development is.
And after a 95-73 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, the Dallas Mavericks can take some solace in the extra reps Monday’s blowout loss afforded the players on the roster.
“This is a good learning experience for us,” Summer League head coach Greg St. Jean said in the post-game press conference. “We will build from here… We haven’t had two bad days in a row.”
What led to the lopsided score was undoubtedly the Mavericks’ horrid outside shooting (22.7 percent). For the majority of the game, the Mavs couldn’t buy a made 3-pointer, even when the offense generated quality looks.
“Shot quality is going to be critical,” St. Jean said. “We are not an elite shooting team, but we continue to get great looks. And at the end of the day, we have to continue to get team-generated threes… As we continue to get high-quality shots, I am more worried about those, than I am the makes.”
Despite the poor team shooting, Mavericks second-year guard Tyrell Terry scored 22 points on 8-16 from the field and 3-6 from the 3-point line. He struggled with his turnovers (5), but late in the game, he found ways to get makeable looks at the basket.
“For Ty, we are obviously going to continue to diversify his looks, and not have him primarily as a ball-handler or primarily as an off-ball shooter,” St. Jean said. “We are putting him in difficult situations… He’s a competitive player, and we are going to continue to challenge him.”
Stepping up alongside Terry was Mavericks undrafted rookie Eugene Omoruyi. He scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. When the game was already decided, Omoruyi didn’t quit, pushing the pace in transition and scoring around the basket.
“Nobody is questioning his motor and his competitive edge,” St. Jean said of Omoruyi. “We will continue to work with him as we go, and he’s going to have a good week for us.”
Omoruyi would add that he “just loves to play basketball and compete with his teammates on the highest level.”
Notes from the loss:
1.) The awful 3-point shooting looks more like an aberration – far from the norm. On offense, the Mavericks generated decent looks. Many were, in fact, open. Often, it’s a make-or-miss league, as cliche as that may be. Against the 76ers, the Mavericks missed far more than they made. 5-22 to be exact.
2.) Turnovers haunted the Mavericks all game. As a team, they committed 23. Individually, Terry and Nate Hinton led the group with five each.
“It’s something I am not happy about, but it was sloppy all around from me and my teammates as far as turnovers. We had way too many,” Terry said. “The best thing we can do is learn from it and move to the next game.”
3.) Terry looked very skillful around the basket. For long stretches, he struggled with his outside jump shot. He chose to attack the rim, and get going that way. It worked. Late in the fourth quarter, he found his perimeter offense.
“Being able to improve my body, and show I have strength around the basket, is something that I have really improved on,” Terry said.
4.) Late in the third quarter, Dallas showed some defensive fortitude and fight. The offense scored 14 points, and the defense held Philadelphia to five points within the final two minutes of the quarter. Heading into practice tomorrow, that defensive effort can be something Dallas hangs its hat on.
“We just started off wrong,” Omoruyi said. “We are still getting to know each other, and it will take some time. But next game we will be ready to go.”
The Mavericks Summer League team next plays on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz. That game is slated to tip-off at 8 p.m. central time. And if what Terry, St. Jean and Omoruyi all said is true, expect Dallas to play better all around.
“Communication is going to be critical for us,” St. Jean said. “We are going to hold ourselves to a higher standard defensively, and our physicality will improve.
“At the end of the day, these guys are fighting for their lives. Their jobs are on the line. So, there is obviously going to be some intrinsic motivation to come out and perform better than what we just saw. But that locker room is a positive group. I challenged them to hold ourselves to the standard that we set, and we’ll watch the film and get better from there.”
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Feature image via Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports.