DALLAS — Despite ending their valiant run through the MGM Resorts Summer League with a disappointing 108-98 defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in the semifinals of the 10-day tournament last month, several roster hopefuls may have punched their ticket to training camp with the Dallas Mavericks come late September.
Capturing their first five outings before falling to the Lakers in the single-elimination tournament, the Mavericks’ Las Vegas summer squad rallied back from a 26-point deficit to creep within one late in the fourth quarter. The Mavs then ran out of steam before seeing their summer-league championship hopes shattered. Still, according to Mavs summer-league coach Jamahl Mosley, a few of the team’s unsigned players may have done enough to impress the Dallas front office.
“There’s two ways you can go. You know, you can quit. You can say, ‘It’s just not our night, and they’re hitting shots.’ But our guys never gave in, and I think that’s a testament to the way they play,” Mosley proclaimed after his team suffered its first loss during summer-league play. “That’s a testament to the organization and what we demand out of guys, and that’s why they have the Mavericks across their shirts.”
The Mavs’ Orlando summer-league team definitely lived up to the organization’s name, going undefeated en route to the title. The Las Vegas squad also more than held its own before coming up short against the Lakers. That said, with 15 players signed to the roster going into Wednesday, the Mavs could pluck from both teams to reach the maximum of 20 players that can participate in training camp.
The Las Vegas squad began its summer-league schedule in dominating fashion, sprinting to a 91-75 victory over Chicago on July 8. The Mavs kept the momentum going with an 88-77 victory over No. 4 overall draft pick Josh Jackson and the Phoenix Suns the following day, leaning on first-round pick Dennis Smith Jr.’s 25-point explosion. The Dallas team then overcame a slow start two nights later, edging out the Miami Heat to remain unbeaten after a 78-73 win. Dallas remained without a blemish after a first-round bye in the tournament, sprinting to an 83-76 win against Sacramento and No. 5 pick De’Aaron Fox. And after cruising to a 91-74 win over Boston in the quarterfinals, Mosley says the team displayed plenty of resiliency to fight for four quarters against the Lakers.
“I can’t say enough about each guy on this team,” Mosley said. “They showed tremendous heart. They showed the ability to fight through no matter what’s going on. Like I said, we’ve been down in games. … I think we were down 10-1, and came back and fought our way back. Not saying we should start off games like that, but each guy has shown their ability to fight, and that’s exactly what we represent with the Mavericks. That’s what they’ve shown, so I think it’s going to be tough decisions.”