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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ashley looks to be productive for Dallas

File+Photo%2FArizona+Summer+WildcatThen-Arizona+forward+Brandon+Ashley+%2821%29+holds+up+his+trophy+to+the+crowd+after+recieving+the+Pac-12+Tournament+Most+Outstanding+Player+after+Arizonas+80-52+win+over+Oregon+in+the+MGM+Grand+Garden+Arena+in+Las+Vegas%2C+Nev.+on+March+14.

File Photo/Arizona Summer Wildcat


Then-Arizona forward Brandon Ashley (21) holds up his trophy to the crowd after recieving the Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player after Arizona’s 80-52 win over Oregon in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. on March 14.

After a rocky summer that included going undrafted, spurning the Los Angeles Lakers for the Atlanta Hawks Summer League team and then eventually getting cut by them, it seems as though Brandon Ashley has found a home in Dallas, Texas.

The former Arizona forward and All-Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention member agreed to a partially guaranteed multi-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks on July 27, 2015, which would have his salary as $525,093 for the 2015-2016 season. With this signing, the 2014-2015 Arizona Wildcats now boast four players on NBA rosters with Stanley Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and T.J. McConnell also actively in the NBA.

The former five-star recruit from Oakland, Calif., is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 12 points and five rebounds on 51 percent in 38 games for the Wildcats. He would also win Pac-12 Tournament MVP and capped off his Arizona career with 17 points and four rebounds in a loss to Wisconsin.

He injured his foot his sophomore season and would miss the rest of the season after helping lead the Wildcats to a 21-0 start that might have ended in a Final Four appearance had he stayed healthy. During his three-year tenure with the Wildcats, he started 81 out of 95 possible games and averaged 10 points and five rebounds on 51 percent shooting.

Ashley is joining a Mavericks team coming off of a 50-win season that included a first-round series loss to the Houston Rockets in five games. He might be hard-pressed to find consistent playing time as the Mavericks frontcourt includes Chandler Parsons and the talented yet aging power forward Dirk Nowitzki. He could potentially work his way into the rotation as the Mavericks are quite thin up front after the Nowitzki-Parsons combo.

Although his versatility allowed the Wildcats to play him at three positions in college, at six-foot-nine, he could potentially play power forward and center with the NBA seemingly doing away with traditional, back-to-the-basket big men for smaller, more athletic ones who can shoot; and for a big man, there is no better tutor than Nowitzki.

While he may not have been an NBA center in the past, in today’s drive-and-kick NBA, having big men who can shoot the ball is optimal as it spreads out the defense and allows the ball handlers more room to operate, like the Golden State Warriors proved when they took the league by storm last year. A big man with a deft shooting stroke makes a team even deadlier as it can draw the opponent’s big man away from the paint and make attacking the basket and getting offensive rebounds much easier when its best rim protector is 20 feet from the basket.

He may not have the flashiness or popularity that Johnson, McConnell and Hollis-Jefferson possessed, but he was the most consistent offensive player for the Wildcats, even if Johnson led the team in points. While Ashley will not wow with his rebounding or overwhelm anybody with his athleticism, hopefully he will expand his game in the pros and his sweet-shooting stroke will translate into a long NBA career.

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