From a financial standpoint, small forward Harrison Barnes was the biggest off-season acquisition for the Dallas Mavericks.
Over the summer, the Mavericks signed the Golden State Warriors free agent to a four-year, $94 million contract.
But the Mavericks’ biggest off-season acquisition was center Andrew Bogut. That’s because the 7-footer gives the Mavericks the rim protector they’ve been searching for since Tyson Chandler left for Phoenix via free agency in 2015.
Coach Rick Carlisle stopped short of saying the Mavericks will get from Bogut exactly what they got from Chandler. But he knows that both players have the capacity to erase whatever defensive mistakes are made on the perimeter.
"He’s a much different kind of player than Tyson, but he has the same kind of defensive impact,’’ Carlisle said. "He just has a little bit different way of going about it.
"We’ve got to make his presence in there on the defensive end a big asset, and we’ve got to make his presence on the offensive end an asset as well.’’
The Mavericks will be looking for an immediate impact from Bogut when they open the regular season at 6 Wednesday night in Indiana against the Pacers.
Bogut averaged 1.6 blocks last season while playing just 20.7 minutes per game, and also led the NBA in blocks in 2011. The 31-year old Australian has his own method how to be an intimidator in the paint.
"Early in games if teams start getting easy layups its easier to get a rhythm, especially a shooter, if he can get his first three or four buckets inside the paint,’’ Bogut said. "I just try to meet him at the rim, get there early on help-side -- especially early in games -- and just make sure that if they feel like they have a lane and I get there, it re-routes them while they kick it out.
"If you do that two or three times in a row, the fourth or fifth time all of a sudden they’re looking for you and they’re hesitant. So that’s the kind of doubt you want to put in the other guy’s mind coming into the paint.’’
Carlisle wasn’t exactly sure what he was getting when the Mavericks traded for Bogut back on July 7.
"He’s actually better than I thought he was,’’ Carlisle said. "I was always a fan from afar, but he’s even a better player than I thought.
"His effectiveness on the game defensively is high, and offensively he’s got to adjust to what we need him to do as opposed to what the Warriors had him doing. There’s a significant adjustment there, but he’s making every effort to do it, he understands and he’s a big part of what we’re doing.’’
With the Warriors, a lot of times Bogut never had to cross mid-court, because one of his gunslinging teammates usually had already hoisted up a 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining on the 24-second shot clock. But with the Mavericks, Bogut won’t have that luxury.
"His role last year was different than what we’re asking him to do,’’ Carlisle said. "He was playing between the two top of the keys most of the time and we need him to be more of an impact in the lane offensively.
"It’s more work to make those longer runs, but he’s really working at it. I love the way he communicates and sees the game, we’ve just got to keep moving forward.’’