Our weekly look at the Mavericks' young players.
President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson recently spoke of three young big men the organization is excited about during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin Show.
All three were acquired in the past few months. The first of the three signed, Brandan Wright, is currently showing the most promise. A career power forward, the 24-year-old North Carolina product is adjusting to playing the center position and is pushing the struggling Ian Mahinmi for minutes behind Brendan Haywood. In his fourth season and finally healthy, Wright's minutes remain sporadic, but he's become a favorite of coach Rick Carlisle's because of the energy and enthusiasm he brings. He's become a fan favorite because of his propensity to throw down roof-scrapping two-handed dunks.
Sean Williams, whose contract was fully guaranteed last week, is in true developmental mode. He was assigned to D-League affiliate Texas Legends in Frisco early on and with virtually no opportunity to crack the Mavs' rotation he's remained there. The former Mansfield High star had his share of troubles when at Boston College and in his previous NBA stint, but Williams, 25, seems determined to do what it takes to stick. He's started 16 of 17 games for the Legends and is averaging 16.0 points on 54.4 percent shooting and 8.6 rebounds in 28.4 minutes. He leads in blocks with 41.
And then there's the man with the contingent of Chinese press that surrounds his locker whether he plays or not. And lately the soft-shooting, 7-foot Yi Jianlian, 24, hasn't seen much action. Since logging 37 minutes in consecutive games on Jan. 25 and 27, he's played a total of 19 minutes in the last nine games and three minutes in the last five.
As for the team's main youngster in the backcourt, Rodrigue Beaubois' season and career remain a roller coaster. Hopes were raised once again for a sustained breakthrough from the soft-spoken 23-year-old early in Jason Kidd's latest injury absence. But, his performances waned and with Kidd back in the lineup, Beaubois has not gotten off the bench in three consecutive games.
What can he do to get back in?
Carlisle had a familiar answer to that question the other night: Just be ready.