The Dallas Mavericks got another steal out of the 2017 draft class after signing undrafted forward, Johnathan Motley out of Baylor.
The Dallas Mavericks made perfect use out of their first round draft pick on Thursday night after selecting Dennis Smith Jr. with the 9th pick in the draft.
With their second round pick going to Philadelphia in the Nerlens Noel trade, Dallas only had one pick headed into the night and ended up staying put by not trading back into the draft.
On Saturday, Dallas basically “traded back into the draft” with the signing of an undrafted player that was projected by many to go in the first round on Thursday night.
Headed into the draft, Motley was the 39th overall prospect according to the big board at DraftExpress. He was ranked ahead of players like Tony Bradley, Frank Mason and Josh Hart.
On Thursday night, he found himself going undrafted.
The 6’9″ athletic forward out of Baylor possesses an impressive 7’4″ wingspan that gives him a frame that is perfect for this new era in the NBA. Last year at Baylor, he put up per-40 numbers of 22 points and 12 rebounds a game.
He also earned First Team All Conference honors for the Big 12.
Watch some of his highlights at Baylor here.
As for the reason that he went undrafted on Thursday night, you assume it was a combination of his age and late season knee injury.
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Coming out of college as an upperclassman, Motley is 22 years old. More importantly, he declared for the draft after having surgery to repair his meniscus. In the game that he tore his meniscus in April, he played through the injury and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
His recovery at the time as 4-6 weeks according to the Dallas Morning News.
Teams might have combined the weariness of the injury with his age to believe he wasn’t worth the risk in the draft.
For the Dallas Mavericks, they are ready to give it a shot.
By signing a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks, Motley will spend the majority of the season with the Texas Legends, but will be able to go back-and-forth to the Mavericks for up to 45 days. This stops any other team from around the league from snatching him up out of the D-League.
Motley gives Dallas a new, young big man who will only grow in his time in Frisco and Dallas this season.
If Dennis Smith Jr. was the steal of the draft like Mark Cuban said, then Motley could be the biggest undrafted steal out there.