The Dallas Mavericks and Nerlens Noel seemed like a perfect match when the Mavs traded for the young center before the deadline last year. Now the two parties are at odds. Could the 2018 NBA Draft class be a cause of this discontent?
DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr. These are the names of the top 5 big men in college right now and names any Mavs fan should familiarize themselves with going forward. The Mavs have not made it clear that they are going to pick a big man, but it does seem very possible.
Even though this group of centers are all freshman, it is no secret that the NBA begins its scouting much earlier than college basketball. All five of these players were ranked in the top ten of the ESPN 100 for their class and everyone took notice of each individual player at some point during the season.
If you would have told me that the Mavericks wanted to draft a center before last summer, I would have said no way. Dallas was all about Nerlens Noel and it was no secret that the Mavs fans were excited to see what he was made of. Then the fiasco this summer happened and we were left wondering what was next. Most of the talk surrounding Nerlens Noel was just speculation, with no answer given as to why Dallas chose to essentially let Noel walk after this season.
Maybe Rick Carlisle and Mark Cuban had a plan tucked away after all.
It is almost impossible to guess what the front office is doing on a day-to-day basis, but it is a rare occurrence when they are not aware of available players they could pursue, which is why I really believe the Noel situation was handled the way it was.
Dallas knew they would still be a tanking team this season, almost assuredly. Another top draft pick would push them in the right direction, but they needed to use it wisely. I believe Dallas knew that the best available player when they make their selection will likely be a center. Maybe they weren’t happy with Noel and maybe they were, but the point is that they knew they had a shot at a franchise player. That was not the case with Nerlens.
I really like Nerlens and think he still has a lot of untapped potential, but if my choice is between him and a 19-year old who can do everything he can and then some, the decision is pretty obvious. Which is exactly why the front office made it.