Have the Dallas Mavericks landed a point guard that’s a lot better than anyone has expected with Israeli Gal Mekel? The Summer League is hardly an accurate indicator to a player’s future in the NBA, but it’s hard to ignore the buzz he’s creating, or the comparisons he’s been drawing.
Right now, the talk is Ricky Rubio. Not that Rubio has been able to do much in the league, playing a total of 98 games since finally agreeing to join the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it helps understand the excitement in Dallas about the player.
Mekel was their first confirmed signing of the offseason, but then came Jose Calderon and Devin Harris and Monta Ellis, not to mention injured rookie Shane Larkin. It didn’t look like the Mavs were putting a lot of faith in the 25-year old who has two years of College Basketball in his past, playing for Wichita State.
But Harris injured his toe, and his contract got cancelled (although the talks are back on now). The injury to Larkin means Mekel has an excellent chance to cement his position in the Mavs’ rotation ahead of the two, and place himself as the number one backup to Calderon at point guard.
According to his Summer League form, that’s not far from reality. He’s one of only five players in the league to average at least 12 points and 4 assists, putting quite a show in the loss to the D-League stars, finishing with 9 assists.
It’s a great opportunity. He was going to have a great opportunity whether Shane played with us or not. Now it’s even more so because there’s even more minutes out there. We’re really depending on him to be a leader out there and call things out there and get us lined up and help everybody else out. He’s a very smart and crafty defender. He’s not the fastest guy in the game or the quickest guy in the gym, but he really uses his smarts for his angles on defense.
Early predictions regarding Mekel considered him to be a good defender, but his offensive ability was always going to be the question. Scoring in the NBA is different than putting on summer shows in Vegas, but it seems that he is ready and confident enough to be an important part of the Dallas Mavericks’ efforts next season to return to the playoff, even when you ignore the highlight moves and “Rubio-esque” passing.