Whatever uneasiness Dwight Powell felt about his status on the Dallas Mavericks’ roster during training camp should be over by now.
Not only has Powell become an integral part of the Mavs’ rotation, the reserve center is also the club’s reliable source of instant energy off the bench.
I’m just trying to work on my game and continue to grow.
Mavericks backup center Dwight Powell
“Yeah, that’s my role,” Powell said. “Bring energy off the bench and just kind of be the spark out there and create plays offensively and defensively.”
Powell’s energy was one of the main reasons the Mavs beat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-98 Saturday at American Airlines Center. In 26 minutes, Powell produced a career-high 15 points and seven rebounds.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki has noticed Powell’s impact on the Mavs, saying: “He’s a great energy player.”
Without playing any more than 26 minutes in any game, Powell has collected at least seven rebounds in five of the Mavs’ six contests. That includes registering his first career double-double Tuesday when he had 10 points and 10 reboundsagainst Toronto.
As Powell’s stats increase, so does his confidence.
“Obviously the more time you spend out there [on the court], the more comfortable you become and I’m just trying to work on my game and continue to grow,” Powell said. “I’ve been talking a lot to the guards actually about finishing inside and the cuts to make and giving myself better opportunities for success, so that’s also a work in progress.”
He’s a hard-playing guy who is getting experience and is getting better
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Powell
Powell is hoping for a repeat performance against the Pelicans on Tuesday night when the Mavs play them again, this time in New Orleans.
“He’s a hard-playing guy who is getting experience and is getting better,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He did a terrific job [Saturday].”
The quick rematch with New Orleans will afford Powell another chance to go against the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, who had 25 points and six rebounds in Saturday’s game against Dallas.
“Anthony is a great player and he’s going to get his looks,” said Powell, who played defense on Davis. “The biggest thing for us is to go out there and compete with him and not to give him too many free ones and too many easy shots.
“That’s what we tried to do, make it tough on him. It’s still a challenge out there, so I’m still trying to develop and continue to get better at it and listen to all the advice [Carlisle] gives me and Dirk and Zaza [Pachulia] about guarding the post, but it’s definitely a work in progress”
As the Mavs wait for JaVale McGee (left tibial stress fracture) to play his first game in a Dallas uniform, Powell has been the backup at center to Pachulia. And Powell’s offensive game has surged; He has converted at least half of his shots in five of the Mavs’ six contests, including making 7 of 9 field goals against the Pelicans.
“He’s developing a direct-drive game, which is important when you are able to shoot the mid-range shot,” Carlisle said. “The last couple of games he’s been kind of taking those veer drives and spinning.
“You don’t get calls in those instances, and you end up in a bad situation, so he’s learning. We certainly need him and we’ve just got to help him keep getting better and better.”