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What JaQuori McLaughlin brings to the Dallas Mavericks

The Big West Player of the Year has a two-way deal with the Mavs

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-UC Santa Barbara at Creighton IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks have added the reigning Big West Player of the Year via a two-way contract. JaQuori McLaughlin played with the Warriors in Summer League, averaging 10.5 points and 5.6 assists per game, but did not catch on with Golden State.

As a result, the Mavericks got a true diamond in the rough. McLaughlin had the 12th-most assists in the league’s short edition of the summer league and established himself as a major piece of the Warriors’ rotation. He excelled in the pick and roll, running the offense through ball screens, and was a clutch shooter down the stretch.

McLaughlin’s summer league performance didn’t surprise the people who watched him in college. Last season, he led the Gauchos to their first NCAA Tournament since 2010. Now, he has an opportunity to pursue his NBA dream.

The former Oregon State Beaver played three seasons with the Gacuhos and in 2021 had himself a year for the ages, averaging 16.0 points, 5.4 assists, and shooting 43% from three. McLaughlin also ranked 16th in Heatcheckcbb.com’s Gold Star ratings — a system that grades the most impactful stars in college basketball. McLaughlin was one of college basketball’s most complete stars. He is an elite shooter and perimeter defender, has excellent ball-handling ability, can drive to the paint, and his most underrated asset is his ability to find open teammates.

McLaughlin has all the intangibles, but he lacks overall athleticism. He was an elite defender in the Big West, but will he be quick enough fit in as an NBA-caliber guard? That remains to be seen. He is the son of a coach, and true to form, has a tremendous basketball IQ.

McLaughin’s role projects along the same line as former Gaucho Gabe Vincent. Vincent made several spot starts for the Miami Heat last year.

McLaughlin will split his time between the Mavericks and Texas Legends in the NBA G League. Players this season signed to two-way contracts are eligible to spend no more than 50 games in the NBA. Guard depth is a major need for the Mavericks right now and McLaughlin will have a chance to play himself into the rotation when he gets the eventual call up to the NBA roster.