With the Mavericks bowing out of the playoffs much earlier than expected last season, and no major splash made in free agency, the Mavericks need an infusion of young talent.
Much of the success next season will be dependent on the development of Rodrigue Beaubois, as almost everything else from the previous team will be the same. Jason Kidd, Dirk, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, and Brendan Haywood are all known quantities, and we saw last year that those guys won't go deep in the playoffs.
In addition to Beaubois, rookie Dominique Jones is a player who could make an impact next year if he plays his cards right. Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin also made a splash in the summer league, and though he likely won't be on the roster next year, he could find his way onto the Mavs in the next few seasons.
Both players have a quality that the Mavericks have been lacking: an offensive aggressiveness, an instinct to get to the hoop at all costs.
Dominique Jones has an upside that ranks with Dwyane Wade. Clearly, Jones has work to do to get to Wade's level, but the possibility exists.
Jones has a great body for an NBA two-guard, and he thrives on absorbing contact close to the rim. His jumper isn't great and will have to improve, but right now that's almost an asset, because he's less likely to pull up for the jumper.
Jones has the strength to take the contact and still get a decent shot up, in the way that LeBron and Wade excel at.
With some hard work, it's not a stretch that Jones could become a D-Wade like player, and that's a role the Mavericks have needed filled for a long time now.
Jeremy Lin came from nowhere, his 4.2 GPA more impressive than his college resume, but he has displayed an intelligence and aggressiveness in summer league that has really elevated above his peers.
He has a better jumper than Jones, but he still has that nose for the basket that leads him to drive and seek out the rack, contact be damned. He's some big hits, but his aggressiveness is nice to see.
He also is a pretty good rebounder for a guard, he reads the ball off the rim well and can often find himself in the right place to snag the long rebound. His passing isn't mind-blowing, but his intelligences and the way he sees the court help, and he seems like the type that will improve the more he plays at the professional level.
With JJ Barea's option picked up, there likely isn't a current spot on the roster for Lin. But the new Mavs D-League affiliate will provide Lin a chance to play while still being retained in the Mavericks' system. As the logjam of guards thins out in the next few years, Lin will likely have a spot on a future Mavs team.
Also of note during the Mavs' summer league games was the addition of Ian Mahinmi. He joined the group late after being signed by the Mavs, but displayed some potential on both ends of the floor, especially during the summer league finale against the Sacramento Kings.
Last year Mahinmi was a Ryan Hollins-type, long and skinny, lacking the bulk it takes to bang down low. Coming into summer league Mahinmi has added some size while still retaining the athleticism that helps him defend and score.
As one of the league's older teams, the Mavs are going to need some of the youngsters to step up this season, to help save players like Kidd and Dirk for the playoffs. Beaubois has high expectations and the talent to live up to them, but players like Jones and Mahinmi could really help the Mavs become a force in the West.