DALLAS — Let’s face it, the NBA preseason is full of terrible basketball featuring a bunch of players who are more likely to be a star in the D-League or any other league besides the Association.
But every now and then someone comes out of nowhere to seize the opportunity and carve out a spot for themselves in their organization’s rotation.
Fortunately for the Dallas Mavericks, this is exactly what fourth-year combo guard John Jenkins has done this preseason thanks to his simple-minded approach.
“I’ve just been out there going hard every game and playing some point guard, which has helped me a lot, and making some shots always helps,” Jenkins told Today’s Fastbreak about his preseason.
Despite being a first-round draft pick for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2012 NBA Draft, Jenkins has never been given a legit opportunity to showcase his skills due to playing behind Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll over the last few years.
In three season in the ATL, Jenkins only registered five starts and never averaged more than 15 minutes a game in a season.
Thanks to the Mavericks being one of the most injury-plagued teams this preseason, Jenkins has finally been given a platform to consistently showcase his skills and show everyone exactly what he learned from playing behind Korver and Co. over the last three years.
“I’ve learned so much from so many different guys and coaches,” Jenkins said. “I’ve just taken from what I’ve learned from them, especially from Kyle Korver and guys like that, and applying it here.”
Jenkins is putting up a team-high 20.8 points per game this preseason while shooting 48.3 percent (43-of-89) from the field and 90.3 percent (28-of-31) from the free throw line. He’s scored 20-plus points in three of his last four games while leading Dallas in scoring in each of the last five contests. He’s scored at least 16 points in every game while playing solid defense against opposing point guards.
Even with the outstanding preseason, Jenkins will be behind the Mavericks’ big free-agent addition Wesley Matthews, who’s set to return to the lineup on Friday night. But since the Mavericks lack the depth that most teams in the Western Conference possess, expect Jenkins to play 15-20 minutes a game when the action gets real next week.
After showing this preseason he can consistently shoot from three-point land while adding a nice mid-range game to his arsenal, don’t expect Jenkins to slow down just because he made it into Dallas’ rotation.