It’s been said that come rain, sleet or snow, the mailman always delivers. But he sure is having a difficult time keeping up with Dwight Powell.
Less than six months into his NBA career, the Dallas Mavericks’ big man had already been with four franchises. He still occasionally wonders where some of his belongings ended up.
“I have clothes, mail and stuff all over the country right now,” Powell said. “I’m actually still trying to figure out some of that stuff.”
The Charlotte Hornets selected Powell out of Stanford on June 26 with the 45th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. But on July 12, Powell’s draft rights and center Brendan Haywood were traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Scotty Hopson and cash considerations.
Powell signed a contract with the Cavs on Aug. 23, but on Sept. 25 Cleveland traded him, John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy and the Cavs’ 2016 and 2017 second-round picks to the Boston Celtics for Keith Bogans and a pair of future second-round selections.
Powell was busy trying to settle into his new digs in Boston when the Celtics traded him and Rajon Rondo to the Mavs on Dec. 18 for Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, a 2015 first-round pick, a 2016 second-round pick and a $12.7 million trade exception.
For Powell, the criss-cross adventures across the country were not exactly an ideal way to break into the NBA.
“I guess it was nuts when I look back at it, but at the end of the day that was kind of all I knew,” Powell said. “I was told from Day One that this is a business and to just work as hard as you can and keep your head down and be in the gym, and that’s what I try to do.
“I was fortunate to land here [with the Mavs]. Obviously it wasn’t a direct path, but it is what it is.”
In addition to locating his mail, Powell has another pressing dilemma: Where can the Mavs best utilize his talent?
“We like Powell and we were very familiar with him before we traded for him,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We think he can help us a lot, and he’s a young athletic guy that’s very active at both ends of the court.”
The 6-foot-11, 240-pound rookie is listed as both a center and power forward. And depending on matchups, he’ll come off the bench to replace either center Tyson Chandler or power forward Dirk Nowitzki.
“At the end of the day, you’ve just got to be able to play basketball in this league,” Powell said. “Being able to classify yourself as one or the other is good, but at the same time you’ve just got to play.
“So whatever position Coach puts me in, I just try to give my best effort and produce as much as I can positively toward a win.”
The Mavs were so enamored by Powell that they refused to do the Rondo trade unless the Toronto native was included. They knew firsthand about Powell because they brought him in for workouts prior to last year’s draft.
“I like Powell a lot,” Chandler said. “He’s a young guy whose working hard, and if he continues to work this hard he’s going to help us and do well in this league.”
Powell has made a habit of picking Chandler’s brain, looking for pointers that will help him in his quest to polish his game.
“I’ve learned a lot of technical stuff [from Chandler], especially defensively and rebounding — both offensively and defensively,” Powell said. “And I’ve learned a lot of different tactics playing against guys that are bigger and stronger, and for us that are kind of thinner and more agile.
“He’s taught me a lot with that stuff, but also about taking care of your body, so he’s been a great mentor. His preparations and routine are pretty — not rigorous — but he does some very specific things to prepare himself for the games and maintain his body and continue to get stronger. And that’s something that will put a lot of years on the end of your career, so I’m going to try and get started on that as soon as possible.”
Powell has also started tracking down his mail and other items that are scattered across the country.
“I’m still new in the city, so it’s all hotels for me pretty much because I haven’t really gotten settled,” Powell said. “I’m in my apartment now, but it doesn’t feel like my place yet.
“I’ve still got to unpack. I’m not able to get comfortable, but I guess I can do that in the off-season.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760