Leave it to an old veteran like Shawn Marion to always set a positive example for the youngsters on the team. He’s been one of the hardest working, most consistent players in the NBA since he came into the league 14 seasons ago.
In Wednesday’s preseason game against the Indiana Pacers, Marion led the Dallas Mavericks in points and more impressively, rebounds. Marion finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.
There’s no way Marion will be able to replicate those numbers in most regular season games, but for once, this isn’t about the regular season. This is about how important it is for the younger guys on the team to see a 35-year-old veteran giving it everything he has during a game that in many ways doesn’t matter at all.
But you want all the players on your team to have the mindset that every minute of every game matters once the regular season begins. That starts with the message sent down by the head coach, but it’s really driven home when the All-Star veterans personify that message. And that’s exactly what Marion is doing by aggressively going after rebounds in a meaningless game.
That attitude will carry over to practice and will help players stay focused during the grind of an 82-game season. It will influence players to dive after loose balls and just overall play with more hustle. That leads to winning the “5o-5o” balls that Coach Rick Carlisle is always talking about, which are the plays that could go either way, depending on who hustles more.
And that’s the kind of play that Marion really brings to the Mavericks and the kind of play that they’ll need more of this year if they want to improve over last year.