As I’ve said previously, there’s virtually no chance that the Dallas Mavericks will keep players who are playing for them on non-guaranteed contracts. This includes the two most well-known of the non-guaranteed guys, Fab Melo and Renaldo Balkman.
Now that we’re halfway through the preseason, there is some statistical evidence that this will remain the case once the regular season starts and the roster has to be trimmed down to 15 players.
The most obvious way to tell who coach Rick Carlisle considers worthy is by looking at their playing time. I looked at the minutes played only by bench players, and I counted not playing as no minutes, except in the case of injuries, where I didn’t count it at all. I found that those on guaranteed contracts have averaged almost exactly double the amount of minutes non-guaranteed players are getting, at 15.4 to 7.8.
The non-guaranteed guys aren’t making much of an impact in their limited time either, as they are scoring a collective average of just 2.9 points per game, compared to the other guys’ 6.4 points per game. To be fair, both groups of guys are scoring about the same per minute, but in order to take away someone’s guaranteed roster spot, a non-guaranteed player needs to outperform the rest of the guys. So far, that isn’t happening.
The most telling statistic is in the fourth-quarter point differential. The Mavericks have been outscored in the fourth quarter in all four preseason games by an average of 9.5 points. They haven’t yet been outscored by less than seven. The way the rotation has worked, almost the entire fourth quarter has been all about the very bottom of the depth chart guys. The thing is, other teams use a similar rotation, meaning these guys aren’t even getting it done against other teams’ scrubs.
To sum it up, don’t get too attached to any of those five guys on non-guaranteed contract, unless you plan on seeing them play for the Texas Legends, the Mavericks’ D-League affiliated team.