Near-Mav Could Have Been Special
By Asher Feltman
Tonight the Orlando Magic invade the American Airlines Center to take on our Mavs.
The Magic rebuilding process has been a surprise with certain moves serving as huge benchmarks in the past few seasons.
First and foremost was their utilization of the entity that is Dwight Howard. It was thought that the Magic would pursue Andrew Bynum or Brook Lopez to fill the void left by their disgruntled and then not disgruntled and then confused and then disgruntled and then not sure and then googling disgruntled and then finally sort of disgruntled (disgruntled has totally lost its meaning by the way) at center.
However, unlike the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets did with Deron and Melo, the Magic orchestrated a four-team deal to collect quantity with quality potential instead of investing financially into big men they didn’t want to commit to.
I thought it was dumb at the time, most did, but boy did Orlando get it right. Sure they were without a star and will need to develop one or draft another but they got a ton out of the deal and will continue to through as far as 2017.
The Magic acquired lottery pick products like Nic Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless as well as multiple future (conditional) lottery picks. On top of that they had their own picks to make.
Orlando picked 19th in the 2012 draft, the last high pick of theirs before they entered full rebuild mode. (they picked 2nd the following season) At pick 19 the Magic selected forward Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure.
Two picks earlier Tyler Zeller was selected by the Dallas Mavericks, picking inside the 20’s for the first time since selecting Etan Thomas 12th in 2000.
But since first round picks make a guaranteed slot value and the Mavericks were trying to shed as much cap room as possible for free agency they traded the pick to Cleveland for three selections later in the draft, moving down seven spots in the first round and acquiring two second rounders to very cheaply fill out their roster. In doing so the team saved about 1 million dollars.
The Mavericks have been discreet on what they would have done with the pick if they intended to use it for its true purpose. Perhaps they never intended to do so as they have accidentally accomplished with most of their first rounders the past decade. However, the fact of the matter was they hadn’t picked that high in 10 years and when they did make the selection it was for the Cavs.
During a Mavericks broadcast last year is when i figured out that, if they were to keep the pick, the Mavericks would have selected Andrew Nicholson.
The four-year college player instead was selected by the Magic and had an impressive rookie season. Playing in 75 games and starting in 28, Nicholson averaged 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds as well as well as over a half a block per game in 16.7 minutes.
At 6’9″, 250 he displayed an affectionate shooter’s touch for a big, something the Mavs certainly know all about.
His minutes have increased in total this season but have fluctuated as the young but deep Magic experiment with different formulas and lineups each night. This season he has started to take some 3’s as well, making 1/3 of his attempts through January 13th.
Obviously we know how the cost cutting method worked out for the Mavs and looking back it would be really nice to have Nicholson in Dallas growing and maturing as a stretch four in the second unit, but it wasn’t part of the plan.
Hopefully next June the Mavericks face no type of a decision.