But perhaps more importantly, a little smirk came across the usually stoic face of head coach Rick Carlisle as Dallas knocked off a red-hot Lakers crew 130-123 before a rowdy crowd at American Airlines Center.
It’s essentially a two-month tryout for a long-term deal for McDermott, who made his debut in adequate fashion with 8 points and 3 assists in 21 minutes after being acquired from the Knicks in a 3-team deal at the trade deadline.
It was also the first of back-to-back games as the Mavs travel to Houston for an evening matchup with the Rockets Sunday.
The Lakers also had a debut of sorts with their own trade-deadline acquisition.
Point guard Isiah Thomas, who came over from Cleveland, came off the bench to pour in 22 points (16 in the first half) and fuel the Lakers offense.
Los Angeles had won 12-of-14 coming into Dallas without heralded guard Lonzo Ball, who’s sidelined with a knee sprain.
McDermott, though, was the main course for consumption in considering how the four-year veteran might fit in with Dallas when he becomes a restricted free agent this July.
The Mavericks could match any qualifying offer at $4.5 million for next season which could mean more time with former high school teammate Harrison Barnes.
“He’ll be out there tomorrow night too,” head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Looking forward for us, it comes down to position and he’s played mostly at the 3 in the NBA.
“I’d like to look at him at the 3 and the 4. I know he’s fine on offense at both of those, but I’d like to see how he scrambles around there on defense at the power forward spot as well.”
McDermott made his scoring debut with a couple of minutes remaining in the first quarter in a rotation with J..J Barea, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell and Yogi Ferrell.
His first bucket came off a Lakers turnover when he finished the break on a crowd-pleasing dunk off a long-range assist from Yogi Ferrell.
That seemed to bring Nowitzki to his feet as well, as the big man threw down a rare dunk of his own at the 8-minute mark of the second quarter.
McDermott had another one with a minute to go in the third quarter, hammering home on the penetration against the Lakers’ Josh Hart.
Nowitzki was on point Saturday, as the Mavs all-time leading scorer dropped a season-high 22 points with a confident jumper and some strong ball movement by the Mavs.
Harrison Barnes had 21, and Dwight Powell scored 19, while Dennis Smith Jr. added 14 points to lead the way.
Having McDermott now does present some additional options for Carlisle in game management with personnel.
Barea got his second consecutive start in place of the usual big men Powell and Maxi Kleber.
Powell has started at the power forward spot the past four games.
“There are times when you play guys off the bench and there can be an assumption at some point there will be diminishing returns,” Carlisle said. “But with guys like Dwight, you have to understand what a starting role is going to yield.
“I think the bottom line is I like him as a starter and I like him to come off the bench. He brings energy in both situations and we just need to try to put him with right guys as we move forward.”