After impressive Summer League playing out of position, Brandon Ashley hopes to carve out niche with Mavs

DALLAS — After impressing the Dallas Mavericks’ front office while starring with the team’s summer-league squads in both Orlando and Las Vegas last month, newly-signed Brandon Ashley hopes to continue showing his versatility during training camp in late September.

Thursday, the Mavericks announced the signing of Ashley, who quickly became a standout during summer-league play last month. The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder averaged 8.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal in two games as the Mavs sprinted to the Orlando summer-league title. He then joined the team in Las Vegas, starting the Mavericks’ six games at center and averaging 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 20.0 minutes as the squad advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. And after seeing the 23-year-old big man shoot 47.4 percent from the floor to help lead the Mavs to a 5-1 record in Las Vegas, Mavs summer-league head coach Jamahl Mosley says he expects Ashley to continue showcasing his overall skillset.

“One thing Brandon did is he played with a level of experience and knows how to read defenses,” Mosley explained while praising Ashley’s summer-league performance. “Defensively, he just covered for guys. He was very good for us. I think it’s huge. He’s showing he knows how to play, he’s showing he belongs at this level, and he just does the little intangible things that I think are going to be good for us going forward.”

Ashley, a San Francisco native, was an early-entry candidate for the 2015 NBA Draft after his junior season at Arizona. He started all 38 games as a junior, averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds to help the Wildcats return to the Elite Eight for a second straight year. Ashley was also named Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 and the Most Outstanding player of the Pac-12 tournament that season, leading to his decision to declare for the draft early.

However, after going untaken in the draft, Ashley spent the preseason with the Mavericks and was eventually waived on Oct. 24, 2015. He then joined the Mavs’ G-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, starting all 33 appearances while averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.4 blocks to garner G-League All-Star honors during the ’15-16 season. Ashley signed with Germany’s Alba Berlin from there, posting averages of 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in 14 outings. But after showcasing his skills on a larger stage during summer-league play, Ashley says he’s eager to prove his worth this upcoming season with the Mavericks.

“I mean, it’s definitely an opportunity,” Ashley explained. “Playing with guys that are already on the team, you definitely want to go out there and prove yourself by affecting the game the same way that they are.

“I think it’s just my versatility,” he added after scoring 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the Mavs’ 91-75 debut victory over Chicago in Las Vegas on July 8. “You know, I’m a smaller guy, so I’m probably not necessarily going to play a whole lot of five at the NBA level. But I’m able to play multiple positions, knock down open shots and just affect the game in different ways.”

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