The 2011 NBA Draft and the Lockout Loom


The NBA 2011 draft is just two days away.  While the NBA draft does not have the coverage or excitment of their NFL counterparts, it is the last bit of NBA action we will have for some time.  The NBA has already cancelled the summer league, a sign that the impending lockout will become a reality.  Great.  Another sport locked in a greedy grab for millions between millionaires and billionaires.  The result will almost assuredly be higher prices for the average joe hoping to watch some sports while trying to relax from a hard day’s work.  But I digress.  There is basketball to discuss!

The Mavericks are in a unique position.  They have one pick in each round (there are only 60 picks in the draft).  What should the Mavs do?  What positions should they target to inject some youth?  Thankfully the Mavs do not have any glaring weaknesses on their roster.  That could change if Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea sign elsewhere or Jason Kidd decides to hang it up.  I still am not sure why the NBA does their draft so early?  Why not give free agency a couple of weeks to sort out all of the major signings so teams can have a better idea of what they need?  Perhaps this should be discussed during those negotiations…

With things are the way they are currently, there are two positions which I believe the Mavs should address: guard and power forward.  The Mavs need some youth.  They need someone who can drive to the hoop besides Barea.  They also need someone who can backup Dirk Nowitzki.  It would be better if they could find a more traditional power forward, someone who can really bang the boards and score in the post.  This would also be a good move to make in case Chandler leaves.  So who might be available when the Mavs pick at the 26th and 57th spots?

Unfortunately this is a very weak draft class.  Aside from Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, there are very few sure things this year.  And the draft has not been an area of strength for the Mavs.  Solomon Alabi, Byron Mullens, Ahmad Nivins, Shan Foster, Nick Fazekas are just a few of the names that are not on the Maverick roster.

One player I would not mind seeing the Mavs snag is Nolan Smith, the guard out of Duke.  A concern is the lack of productivity of the Duke players at the NBA level.  But Smith has played well at Duke, plus has the good bloodlines, being the son of Derek Smith.  He is a leader.  He can play both guard positions, giving the Mavs some versatility.  He can drive the lane, while having a nice outside shot.  But he may be a reach at 26 but he probably will not be there at 57.  Maybe the Mavs should consider trading down, adding another pick, either this year or the next, and still nab Smith.

Another player I would love to see wearing Maverick blue would be Justin Harper out of Richmond.  He has size and can score from anywhere on the floor.  But he lacks a real position.  He also needs to add some bulk in order to be more of a force on the glass.  He should be their at 26 although he may go slightly earlier.

Who will the Mavs take?  We shall see.  Then the Lockout begins.  Oh the joys of being a sportsfan in 2011!