The NBA Draft is coming up on June 22nd and the Dallas Mavericks are awaiting there pick. However, for the first time in many years, the NBA Draft Lottery may be equally important to the actual draft.
The Dallas Mavericks have not been in the draft lottery since the 2013 NBA Draft. On that night, the Mavs traded multiple picks around until ending up with #18 overall, Shane Larkin, and a few future 2nd rounders. Clearly our experience in the draft lottery is not anything to write home about.
Before 2013, Dallas also had a lottery pick in 2000, which they subsequently traded as well. In the Mavs defense, however, draft day trading was pretty successful for them two years previously when they decided to trade down from their 6th overall pick for an unproven German kid by the name of Dirk Nowitzki.
In these other two draft lotteries, the Dallas Mavericks ended with the 13th overall pick. This time around, however, Dallas is expected to have a higher pick than that. Combine that fact with the great draft class this time around, and it is easy to see how important the NBA Draft Lottery will be.
The obvious need for the Mavericks is the point guard position. Sadly, that is the need of just about every team in the lottery, along with all the top players in the draft. The Mavs have the 9th worst record in the league and should end in the top 10 in the draft. However, all the top point guards are likely to be gone in the first 7 or 8 picks of the draft.
For that reason, the draft lottery is going to determine not just what player the Mavericks target in the draft, but also quite possibly the position and some important free agency moves. Let’s look at an example.
If the Mavericks do end up with the 9th pick in the draft, the guards that will likely be picked ahead of them include: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, and De’Aaron Fox. This would leave the top point guard on the board as unproven Frank Ntilikina, after which there is a big drop off in talent level.
This would cause the Mavericks to probably have to look at another position instead of sticking to the game plan with a point guard. If Dallas did branch out and grabbed someone like a Lauri Markkanen, Jonathan Isaac, or even a Justin Jackson, it would fill a potential need for the future as well as give the bench some more depth, neither of which are bad things at all.
However, if this were to happen, Dallas’ goals of landing a veteran point guard in free agency would rise dramatically. This could put us in a bit of a pickle if we don’t play it exactly right and the chances of the Mavs finding a rental instead of a permanent solution go up mightily as well. All of this could be determined simply by a ping pong ball and 14 teams who weren’t good enough for the playoffs.
No matter what the case, Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban, and Rick Carlisle will have a plan for everything. There are good scenarios and there are great scenarios, but the Mavericks should come out with some sort of win after the draft is all said and done. Tune in for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16th.