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Mavs Preseason Profile: How Much Will Dwight Powell Produce Off Bench?

Dwight Powell started in 71 of 82 games for the Dallas Mavericks last season, but his role could be vastly different this season.

In 2014, the Dallas Mavericks traded for Rajon Rondo with the hopes of landing a true point guard. Instead, the team received a hard-working center, who became an integral part of the Mavs roster. 

Over the past eight years, Dwight Powell has played in 500 games. He started a career-high 71 games last season. In the playoffs, he started in all 18 games. 

But with Christian Wood and JaVale McGee in the mix now, what might a bench role look like for Powell?

2021-22 Season Review

In 82 games, Powell averaged 8.7 points and 4.9 rebounds. During the final two months of the season, he upped his game, averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds in March, and 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in April.  

A key component of his game was his ability to stay healthy. Two seasons prior, he struggled to stay on the court, as he dealt with an Achilles tendon injury in 2019-20 and COVID in 2020-21. 

Under coach Jason Kidd, Powell became the team's starting center, displaying both his hard work and grit. The 6-10 big man made Mavs history last season, as he shot team-record 67.1 percent, the third-best overall shooting percentage in the league. 

However, his inability to take his game to the next level could be his Achilles heel. 

As a starter, he averaged 4.9 rebounds, going for 82nd in the league. During the playoffs, Powell started in all 18 games, but failed to capitalize on opportunities, as his minutes began to decrease with each series. 

Against the Golden State Warriors, he started all five games, averaging 9.8 minutes, 3.6 minutes less than the Phoenix Suns series. This was a significant drop, as he averaged 21.9 minutes during the season. 

Last season he lead the league in screen assists per 36 minutes. Next to Luka Doncic, Powell is a dominant pick-and-roll guy, always being ready to catch a lob. 

He wasn't able to show the same aggressiveness in the playoffs. 

2022-23 Season Preview

With a changed role this season, things could look a bit different. Before the 2021-2022 season, Powell was used to being in the sixth-man role, as he came off the bench 76 percent of the time in the two years prior. 

In the past, he had some of his best moments off the bench. reporter Eddie Sefko explains what Powell's role could look like this season. 

"He’s been effective coming off the bench in the past," Sefko wrote. "In 2018-19, he averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21 minutes per game, he came off the bench in 55 of the 77 games in which he appeared." 

Assuming that holds, Powell could form an effective big man trio with Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood.

Powell is also entering the final year of his contract. If he can capitalize coming off the bench, he could be signing his third contract extension in Dallas.