Mike James only played two games with the Texas Legends before going on to sign with their NBA-affiliated Dallas Mavericks. That said, it was easy to see in James' second contest (which came during the NBADL Showcase) that the Legends aren't afraid playing a bit of small ball if their talent lies in the backcourt.
The ten-year NBA veteran sealed the deal with the Mavericks by scoring 11 points and grabbing 3 steals in his latter minor league contest. Much of his time on the court was spent playing alongside resident floor general Sean Singletary. Together, the two ran the floor together pretty well, and made things easy for one another on the court. Clearly someone who likes to score the basketball, James looked relaxed and didn't have to do too much as he shared the court with another point guard.
A couple weeks later, and James has, to date, managed to stick on with the Mavericks. He may be out in Texas, but UNC Asheville's Matt Dickey has stepped in to fill that backcourt void for the Legends.
Like James, Dickey is another point guard who likes to score the basketball. A bit more explosive, Dickey has the ability to catch the defender off-guard as he charges ahead towards the basket, or better yet, can step back and drain the long ball with ease if need be. Defensively, his style is somewhat similar to that of Pablo Prigioni, as he likes to pester opposing players by applying pressure, chasing the ball (and his opponent), no matter where they are on the court.
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But make no mistake, there may be not too much of a comparison between James and Dickey as far as playing styles go. Alas, there still may be one when it comes to the opportunity each had or has to make an impact for the Legends.
After being drafted by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in this past November's NBA D-League Rookie Draft, Dickey's talent level was undoubtedly evident, as recognized by some of the league's smarter executives in the fold of the Rockets' organization. That said, with so many other floor generals already in town, Dickey's opportunity to prove himself was not going to come there. As fate would have it, however, he didn't have to go very far to embark on the next step of his basketball journey. The guard caught on with the Legends as a practice player, and had been spending time aiming to prove his worth ever since.
Donning a practice jersey for Texas undeniably made it easy for the team to trust Dickey and insert him into the rotation to play steady minutes, after just formally signing him to the roster last week. Already having appeared in four contests for the Legends, the UNC Asheville alum has averaged 6 points (on 45% shooting from the field), 1.3 steals, and has done so while playing 19.3 minutes per game.
Like James, Dickey doesn't have to do too much to be successful. Playing in the Legends' system may in fact make it easy for him to do. NBA teams aren't looking to the minor league to uncover a top scorer or two. Instead, it'll be Dickey's ability to still act as an offensive threat, coupled with all the other positive things he contributes while on the court, that will garner him more attention as time goes on.
During his short time with the Legends, Dickey has also started a contest and shot the ball relatively well. Starting alongside Singeletary in that lone game, it's clear Texas believes the team's new guard can fit right in and succeed within the team's systems. It'll be exciting to watch Dickey only improve with time as he gets even more comfortable on the court.