Before I dive into what our Dallas Mavericks accomplished in the 2013 NBA Draft, I want to get mad about something first.
The Dark Knight Rises was an unsatisfying, plot-hole ridden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt dominated finale to an epic trilogy.
But not that.
The NBA must change their rule concerning draft pick trading between the end of the Finals and the starting of Free Agency. Any time of the year except that few week period draft picks can be traded at will, whether it’s a first rounder to grab a point guard for the stretch run or an attachment to a deal just so the other team will say yes to your property.
But from the final NBA Finals buzzer until midnight eastern on the first of July every year, there can not be any official trades because the league office is on vacation or something else absolutely preposterous. In that span every year is the NBA Draft, where draft pick trading happens just as often as Jalen Rose speaks when he shouldn’t. (pretty much all night)
However, since deals cannot be finalized, every pick dealt on or recently before draft night has “proposed” and “rights” attached to it.
For example, last night the Mavericks traded their 13th pick to Boston for their 16th pick and then proceeded to send that pick to Atlanta for the 18th. Since trades cannot be fully completed at the time of the draft, the big board — and more importantly the TV board/menu — still indicated that Dallas indeed picked at number 13. Kelly Olynk, a center from Gonzaga who plays with energy and has a solid jumper but doesn’t rebound or protect the rim well isn’t really what the Mavericks needed. (Although I did love me some Raef Lafrentz)
Not only was the grizzly Olynk not headed to Dallas (by the way why does every white guy who declares from Gonzaga try to look imitate Adam Morrison…two rings maybe?) ((But who am I to talk, I have an Adam Morrison autograph and a blue Bobcats alternate jersey…until 5/11/2013 I thought I was a lone wolf but via awesome fellow MFFL @MBibs it was brought to my attention that the ‘I own a Morrison jersey’ club had a second member; NC93_…we are proud:we are not))
What was I talking about again? Who’s reading again anyway?
I love Bill Simmons. He’s my idol and he rocked and stole the show on draft night. Then again, Skip Bayless in his seat would have become a beloved TV persona because of the man to the right, Jalen Rose.
So Kelly Olynk gets his Mavericks hat and shakes the commissioner’s hand (more on him later) but everyone and their sports mother knows he isn’t going to wear a blue and white jersey. Basketball reasons (see what I did there) aside, Olynk would have ran away with the “Best Hair” award if not for Lucas Nogueira and his massive afro. That poor hat. Speaking of the Brazilian center Nogueira, he was selected 16th with the Celtics pick…that was traded to Dallas in the deal containing the 13th pick…and then was dealt again to Atlanta from Dallas…all this happening via reports from Andy Katz and #ChrisBroussardSources while the NBA Draft journeys on and we’re left to scramble to Google and Twitter to find out just exactly who is going where.
Which brings us to the Mavs draft.
Dallas, in prime position to land Dwight Howard, was trying adamantly to trade their first lottery pick since 2000. With first round picks requiring guaranteed money, the Mavericks wanted to save every penny possible and continue to do so to give D12 the maximum contract that they can. (4/88; Lakers can offer 5/118)
Up until the pick was made, in fact after the selection, it was Andy Katz relaying to eager listeners like myself that the pick had indeed been dealt to Boston (who were very, very busy dismantling what’s left of their franchise for “35 cents on the dollar” (Simmons) on draft night themselves) ((((((#TeamBill)))))) (but I don’t blame Doc)
From a fans perspective, after all I am a die-hard to a fault who thought Chris Paul was really going to come here until Donald Sterling let the hapless Vinny Del Negro go at CP3’s request…hell, Dan Dickau would have made that request. (Gonzaga theme hits three for those scoring at home) I thought if the Mavs did do what I expected them not to and keep the pick, I was counting on German point guard Dennis Schröder. Only “dat dude” is the other player to be drafted straight out of Germany in the first round.
The Mavericks badly need a point guard willing to throw it to the blonde 7 foot mountain in the 4th quarter. But it wasn’t coming from this draft or any draft. Roddy B’s upcoming farewell will remind you of that. Outside of Dirk, Marion (if he’s not traded to save cap space) and hopefully one big fish, the Mavs starting lineup is up for grabs. If they did pick in the 2013 draft, it would be for a backup.
That being said, we rejoin the conversation from earlier regarding Dallas’ decision with pick 13.
From the draft war room that consisted of Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs sent pick 13 to Boston for pick 16 and two future overseas projects…i mean 2nd round picks.
Then came the big move. Well, big in Dallas but small when put next to Milwaukee’s exciting investment, 6’9″ 210 Greece forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who I’m just going to refer as “Gio” until further notice. (When will he come up anyway?)
The Mavericks, having moved down three slots for two 2nd round picks, then proceeded to highlight their evening.
Last year’s first round pick and one of just five players under a guaranteed contract for next season, Jared Cunningham was drafted with high hopes that faded internally and externally well before his departure on Thursday night. But by doing so, Dallas opened up just under $1.5 million dollars of cap space to add to their already big pot of hope or – with the trade of Cunningham and his guaranteed rookie contract – the self-allowed financial flexibility to in fact keep and roster a first rounder from this draft if they so desired.
And they did.
Along with Cunningham (did I mention his financial status?) and “the rights to” (because it can’t be final or basketballs will be purple next season) the 16th pick (via Boston) Lucas “AfroMan” Nogueira as well as the 44th pick (Bucknell Senior Mike Muscala) for the 18th pick and “the rights to” Miami point guard Shane Larkin. (Son of Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin who was in attendance for the draft (& happens to work for ESPN))
When the deal was made I was skeptical because Larkin, as Mavs General Manager Donnie Nelson explicitly stated after the draft, projects as a backup. Also, as @DwainPrice of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a fellow guest on last Wednesday’s episode of Real Fans Sports Radio notes, The Mavs saved $374,500 under the salary cap by moving from pick 13 (to 16) to 18 and are now only $2,737,280 away from being able to max out free agent center Dwight David Howard.
In Round Two the Mavericks traded a future 2nd rounder received earlier in the evening from Boston to Milwaukee for 6’6″ guard Rickey Ledo. Ledo was highly touted out of high school, rated the #21 overall prospect in his class by ESPN and earning a spot on the McDonald’s All-American squad. However, due to a lack of credits he was declared ineligible by the NCAA and never actually played in a college game. I’m looking at it with the glass 3/4 full and considering that he slipped because of aforementioned reasons and the Mavs’ could have a 2nd round gem. Then again, my mind shakes its head at my heart and says Ledo will be overseas his whole career.
A final note if you’re still with me.
Last night was the final time the greatest commissioner in sports history (HOT. SPORTS. OPINION) called out first round draft picks. From picks 1-29 he was boo’d angrly by the Barclays Center crowd but David Stern, always loving the spotlight, embraced the hell out of those boo’s and probably could have cut the draft 30 minutes if he didn’t encourage the crowd with an “I can’t hear you” hand motion every selection, but I’m not complaining. Soak it in, Commissioner Stern, you deserve it, sir.
When he emerged from the odd double doors to announce the 30th pick of the draft, he got a standing ovation. A warm moment followed when Hakeem Olajuwon made a special cameo to send David Stern off into NBA Drafterlife. Olajuwon, the first pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, was the first name David Stern ever called. “The Dream” beautifully represented and personified the efforts David Stern made to globalize the National Basketball Association.
And fittingly, the last name Commissioner Stern announced was Nemanja Nedović from Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania)
Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Stern’s successor as of February 1st, 2014, was greeted with redirected boo’s from the raucous crowd before he even delivered Round Two’s first selection.
Next June Mr. Silver can get off on the right foot in his NBA Draft first round announcing career by practicing “Andrew Wiggins” in front of the mirror. Until then. Go Mavs.