If history can repeat itself, the Dallas Mavericks may be able to find a gem in the upcoming NBA Draft, considering the franchise’s previous success at the position.
In the team’s NBA draft history, Dallas has made three selections in the first round at the ninth pick.
First, in 1981, the Mavericks selected the great Rolando Blackman. Along with four All-Star appearances, Blackman is one the greatest players to put on a Mavericks uniform. Currently, Blackman sits in the top 10 for 26 different statistics for Dallas Mavericks career stats. Most notable of these stats include points (2nd), games (4th), and minutes played (2nd).
Second, in 1983, the Dallas Mavericks took Dale Ellis with the 9th pick in the draft. While Ellis did not make near as big of a splash as Blackman, Ellis was a solid player for 16 years in the league. Ellis only played his first two seasons in Dallas, and he would finish his career with an All-Star appearance, an All-NBA selection, and the 1986-1987 title of Most Improved Player.
Finally, Dallas selected Samaki Walker with the 9th pick in the 1996 NBA draft. While Walker only played his first three seasons in Dallas, he was a significant role player for the Los Angeles Lakers during one of their three title runs in the early 2000’s.
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Now, these three names aren’t the only players to be selected at the ninth spot and make an impact in Dallas. Including Blackman, Ellis, and Walker, the Mavericks have seen eight players step on the court for them who were selected at the ninth spot in their respective draft.
In back to back drafts, two former Dallas Mavericks’ players were selected at the ninth spot. First, in 1994, the Boston Celtics selected Eric Montross with the ninth pick. However, Montross would only go on to play 47 games for Dallas. Next, Ed O’Bannon was selected by the New Jersey Nets in the 1995 Draft. O’Bannon’s career would be short lived as he only played 19 games for Dallas before he and Derek Harper would be traded to Orlando for Dennis Scott.
Also, the Dallas Mavericks would enjoy the presence of Amar’e Stoudemire for 23 games in the 2014-2015 season. Stoudemire, who was selected 9th overall in the 2002 draft by the Phoenix Suns, won the 2002-2003 Rookie of the Year award, earned six All-Star selections, and got selected to an All-NBA team on five separate occasions.
Now, so far, the only name that has really stood out is Rolando Blackman in terms of Dallas Mavericks great. But, the 1998 and 1999 NBA drafts brought in two of the greatest Mavericks of all time, both at the 9th overall pick.
In the 1999 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Shawn Marion at the 9th overall pick. Now, it took Marion some time to make his way to Dallas. Marion would bounce around from Phoenix to Miami to Toronto before finally arriving at Dallas before the start of the 2009-2010 season.
In his five seasons with the Mavericks, the Matrix averaged 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. Also, Marion was a force on the defensive side as he played a huge part in the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA Championship (cue sports tears).
Finally, the greatest Mavericks player of all-time was selected at the ninth pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Dirk Werner Nowitzki was selected 9th overall by the Bucks before the Mavericks made the greatest draft day trade of all-time to acquire Nowitzki for Robert Taylor.
Now we all know the legacy and stat-line of Nowitzki. But, we will recap his career in Dallas. In his 20 years in the NBA, The Big Tall Baller From The G ranks first in Mavericks’ history in: games, minutes played, field goals, free throws, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, and became the 6th person in NBA history to score 30,000 points in a career.
So, will we find the next Blackman, the next Marion, or the next Nowitzki in this year’s draft?
Tune in to find out on June 22, 2017.