With the NBA finals almost underway, all but two teams have turned their eye toward the NBA draft. Who should the Dallas Mavericks target with their 46th pick on draft night?
The Mavericks own only one pick in the 2016 draft as they traded this year’s first-rounder to the Boston Celtics as part of the Rajon Rondo trade. General manager Donnie Nelson and the Dallas front office will have their number called late in second round on the 23rd of June.
In the next few weeks, three previews will feature players in the frontcourt, on the wings and among point guards who are projected in the middle of the second round and who could end up in Dallas come draft night.
With that said, the second round, at least beyond the early picks, has historically been difficult to predict and the later picks are essentially a crapshoot for any GM. Luckily for the Mavericks, there are plenty of promising players who are projected to fall to their draft range.
In this weeks edition, a preview of intriguing draft prospects on the wing:
Caris LeVert: The 21-year-old is one of the most controversial players in the second round, if not for two stress fractures in the same foot LeVert would surely be a lottery pick. Talent-wise he belongs in the first round, but the 6-foot-7 shooting guard was still in a walking boot during the draft combine and is unlikely to work out for any teams before the draft. Having slipped due to injury concerns, the Mavericks could end up with one of the steals of the draft if LeVert returns to form and stays healthy.
Beyond having good size and a great 6-foot-10 wingspan for his position, the versatile guard from the University of Michigan is a terrific athlete and a good shooter with range. Despite struggling as a primary offensive weapon for the Wolverines, the 190-pound senior demonstrated his ability to penetrate and get to the rim. For a Mavericks organization that prides itself on an expert medical staff, LeVert is certainly worth a look.
James Webb III: With a 6-foot-9, 200-pound frame and the ability to jump out of the building, Webb III looks like a player that should be much higher on draft boards than he is. The fact that the small forward from Boise State is projected as a late second-rounder should certainly give the Mavericks pause, but Webb’s athleticism is so tantalizing that he is definitely worth a look.
Beyond his age – Webb will be 23 before the new season starts – his lack of strength and uncertainty regarding his shooting are Webb’s most obvious faults. Shooting 40 percent from beyond the three-point line in one year and following that up with 25 percent from beyond the arc the next will do that. Even so, the Mavericks are notoriously short on athleticism and Webb certainly brings that and plenty of promise on the defensive end to the table. If he falls out of the second round, he should at least be a candidate for the summer league squad.
Malcolm Brogdon: The guard from Virginia is one of the oldest players in the draft, he will turn twenty-four in December, but Brogdon has enough talent for teams to overlook his age. At 6-foot-5 the Virginia Cavalier does not possess elite size for his position, but his 6-foot-11 wingspan is more than decent and he makes up for his lack of elite athleticism with his high basketball IQ and good shooting extending to the three-point range.
On the offensive end, Brogdon projects to be a jack-of-all-trades. On defense, with 223-pounds on his frame, the Atlanta-native has shown promise as a tough, physical defender. Brogdon, who attended the same college as current Dallas Maverick Justin Anderson and coach Rick Carlisle, could understudy under Wesley Matthews and probably contribute for the Mavs right away.
Jake Layman: With a 6-foot-9 frame and an identical wingspan Layman lacks size, but the twenty-two-year old has a lot of other talents that should interest the Mavs. Despite his below-average wingspan, the senior proved in Maryland that he can be a versatile defender.
Lacking in strength, Layman has compensated with effort and shown continous improvement rebounding the ball. On the other side of the ball Layman has shown a sweet shooting stroke, but while he is one of the quicker and more dynamic players in the draft, his ability to create for himself is underwhelming.
Alex Poythress: The 6-foot-8 and 240-pound native from Clarksville, Tennessee is a lockdown defender and would probably be higher on the boards if not for a torn ACL in his junior season. The twenty-two-year old has been pretty inconsistent in his time at Kentucky and, despite his frame, needs to add strength.
Nevertheless Poythress has plenty of talent, and with a 6-foot-11 wingspan he has shown flashes as a long, athletic defender with the ability to defend multiple positions.
A good rebounder in college, Poythress has so far remained a question mark on offense. Although his shot creation needs work, his jump shot is decent enough when his feet are set. The intangibles to become an impact 3-and-D player are there, Poythress just needs to regain his footing with a stable franchise after an inconsistent campaign at Kentucky.