This season started off rough for the Dallas Mavericks. They had a record of 4-17 through the first 21 games and were without their superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was battling a strained Achilles. Without Nowitzki, free agent acquisition Harrison Barnes had to step up in his place. Barnes admirably held his own, averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 36.5 minutes per game.
Nowitzki eventually made his return on December 23 against the Los Angeles Clippers as the Mavericks were still clawing their way out of the Western conference basement. Since Nowitzki’s return, Dallas has slowly made up ground in the West thanks to a 9-3 surge in the last 12 games and contributions from youngsters Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell.
Curry, who everybody knows as Steph’s younger brother, got his first taste of NBA action back in the 2013-14 season with the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry did not spend much time with those two organizations and went back to the D-League to hone his craft. Then in the following season, he was signed by the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic.
Once again, Curry would not play any significant minutes for either of those teams until he got a chance last season with the Sacramento Kings.
This season, Curry is proving that he belongs in the NBA as he is playing a significant role in Dallas. Curry is averaging 11.7 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game. He is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range.
Not to mention, Curry has started in the last 12 games for the Mavs, helping them reach a record of 20-30 and only 2.0 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth spot. Over that time span, he is shooting 51 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from three-point range, while averaging 16.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
He has shown not only the ability to knock down the three-point shot, but creating for his teammates and making the mid-range jumper. He is just one-half of the Mavericks’ new backcourt as undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell has brought a spark and fire to Dallas.
Ferrell, the undersized point guard out of the University of Indiana, spent some time with the Brooklyn Nets this season, before being sent down to their D-League affiliate in Long Island. With Long Island, he was averaging 18.7 points, 5.8 assists, and shooting 39.8 percent from three-point range.
His performance in Long Island caught the eye of the Mavericks’ front office brass as they brought him in and signed him to a 10-day contract. Ferrell has not disappointed and proved he belonged in the NBA on Friday night. Against Portland, Ferrell led the charge on offense for Dallas, knocking down 9-of-11 from three-point range, en route to a career-high 32 points.
Continuously, the Trail Blazers kept going under screens and Ferrell made them pay. He even knocked down a clutch three-pointer in the waning moments of the game to put the Mavericks up by four points.
Ferrell is bringing a new flare and excitement to the Mavericks and the front office understands that and will reward him with a two-year deal, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Ferrell will sign the two-year deal after his first 10-day contract expires on Tuesday.
The two D-League guards have brought an excitement and youth movement that has breathed life into the Mavericks. With only six games left until the All-Star break, it will be interesting to see if the Mavericks can make up any more ground in the playoff race. If they can take control of the eighth seed by the break, then Dallas will be a fun team to watch in the second half.