On 2017 G League Draft day, there was a subplot brewing as the Legends traded pick #48 to the Windy City Bulls. He worked tirelessly to secure the return of a certain sharpshooting point guard that played with the Legends previously in 2010-2011, 2013 and 2015.
The player the Legends acquired in that trade was Justin Dentmon, who has played with the Legends previously in 2010-11, 2013, and 2015.
Dentmon has played basketball all over the world and then some. If you could ball on Jupiter, he’d be your guy. His nine year career has so far taken him to Israel, Venezuela, Italy, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, China, Turkey and of course the States.
“Last season I played on two different teams, Galatasaray (Turkey) and then I went to China. Lately I’ve just been working out and staying ready for whatever’s next. The reason I hadn’t committed to anybody yet is none of the contracts have been where I wanted. But the Legends reached out and here I am.”
Dentmon has traveled many seas to play basketball, but he did achieve his ultimate dream back in 2012 when he was signed by the San Antonio Spurs. The guard split NBA time that season between the Spurs and the Toronto Raptors, also winning the G League MVP award during the 2011-2012 campaign.
The following year, he played a pair of games for the parent club Dallas Mavericks. Now, it’s all about getting back. “Everybody’s goal here is to play in the NBA, play in the highest level. When I got there I got a taste of it and always wanted to go back. It’s a surreal moment. Being in the NBA is an amazing experience, it makes you think about all the hard work you did in the past to get to that point. Now that I’m more mature, I think I can help a lot of teams out as far as my shooting and being a leader in the locker room.”
His active path finds him reunited in Frisco with the first American pro team he played for. “It feels weird in a way. I never thought I’d be back but if I did come back to the G League I wouldn’t want to come back to any other team than the Legends.”
It took some wheeling and dealing on the part of the Legends staff, but they got their guy. Dentmon has an extended history and fan favorite reputation with the organization and he certainly recognizes the effort taken to bring him back home.
“It feels great. It reminded me of back in my high school days when you try to get recruited by so many different colleges. To have somebody want you, reaching out to get you, that’s what it reminded me of.”
It’s been a few years since Dentmon was here and his game has evolved even more since then. So what’s the biggest difference? “Maturity. I think I’m more mature now. I’m a vet so I gotta set the tone for the younger guys and just be a leader, more of a leader than I have been in the past.”
“I can (still) score like crazy (laughs). That’s one thing that’s never going to change. I got other things I can also do but scoring is almost a guarantee.”
Something new for Dentmon will be the faces and names he’s surrounded with. One of those people is Head Coach Bob MacKinnon, who runs a fast-paced offense the new point guard can’t wait to helm. The Legends were third in the league last season in scoring at 117.6 points per game and led the league in shot attempts per night with 92.
“I’m very excited. That’s one thing we talked about when I talked to coach. To be me. Just do your thing. Come in and score the ball and be a leader and that’s what I’m gonna do. It’s always good when you can do what the coach wants you to do and what the coach wants me to do is one of the best things I can do.”
The 2017-2018 season is inching ever closer and training camp is in full swing. Camp will prove very useful to Dentmon as he familiarizes himself with his new teammates and friends. “Me not being able to play against guys at the same speed for a while is an adjustment I’ll make. That comes with training camp and working all the kinks out of your game and getting everybody moving at one pace. Once we get the offense down and everybody knows everybody’s position, everything will slow down.”
The regular season kicks off on Saturday, November 4th in Austin against the Spurs with the home opener approaching soon after on Saturday, November 18th against the Oklahoma City Blue. There’s business to be taken care of beforehand, but Dentmon is excited about coming back to Dr Pepper Arena.
“I’m looking forward to being in front of the fans again. Being able to play in front of my family for the first time in a long time and really just meeting new people. The new guys, the new characters on the team and build new relationships.”