NBA Draft Roundtable: Who Will Be the Lottery Steal?
By Kohl Rast
The NBA Draft is less than three weeks away and the mock drafts are heating up. For this edition of The Smoking Cuban’s mock drafts, we will be looking at a few different categories. To start with, the most likely lottery steal.
There have been a lot of draft steals over the past few years. Donovan Mitchell is one of the names that will come up for recent draft day steals. At pick number 13, Mitchell was a bit overlooked but appears to be in serious contention for the Rookie of the Year award. Kyle Kuzma was also a steal in this draft as he was picked 27th overall in the draft.
The last draft day steal that the Dallas Mavericks got may have happened as long ago as 1998, when Dirk Nowitzki dropped to the 9th overall pick. Obviously he turned out to be the best player in the draft class. Since then, Dallas really hasn’t won a draft, other than maybe last year’s when the Mavs nabbed Dennis Smith Jr. with the 9th pick as well.
Here are the staff picks for a potential draft day steal for a lottery team.
“It’s no secret that many teams (Boston?) are salivating over Bamba’s 7’10 wingspan and impressive resume as a defensive anchor. If that wasn’t enough, the big man tops it off with an improving offensive game and maturity beyond his years. Now consider the fact that he’ll likely be the third big man off the board — a steal in the making.” –Paul Wang
“The Suns are no lock to take the Arizona star. Desperately in need of another backcourt presence and with Tyson Chandler still on the roster, investing the first overall pick on a defensively challenge center may force the Suns elsewhere. The teams in the 2-4 range could suddenly have cold feet. Make no mistake though, Ayton would be a steal for the Mavs.” –Evan Siegel
Wendell Carter Jr.
“Carter is kind of the forgotten big man in the lottery but he has the potential to be the best of the bunch. NBA executives have compared his game to Al Horford, a guy who just had a tremendous 2018 playoffs. His passing, rebounding, and high basketball IQ would fit in well in Dallas.” –Sean Bush
Michael Porter Jr.
“Depending on how teams feel about Michael Porter Jr’s recovery from a back surgery in November, he could go anywhere in the top ten of this June’s draft. Porter has a plethora of athletic tools that are rare in a league full of athletes. Porter is 6’10, has a 7ft wingspan and has an offensive savviness that indicates a ridiculous upside as a scorer at the next level.” –Zach Windell
Wendell Carter Jr.
“There’s one name that isn’t being mentioned as much as it should be — Wendell Carter Jr. Overshadowed by fellow Duke big man, Marvin Bagley III, Carter Jr. is pound-for-pound one of the most versatile and dominant bigs in this year’s draft class. If not for Bagley’s success, we may be talking about Wendell as a top-3 pick come June.” –Emmanuel Dixon
“If the latest report from Jonathan Givony is true, Luka Doncic is falling on the draft board. This may just be smoke screens by the teams drafting in the top three, but if Doncic somehow fell to the Mavericks, I’d consider that grand larceny. Doncic is a play-maker and scorer that’s perfect for the modern NBA. Some worry there’ll be issues because he and Dennis Smith Jr. both need the ball, but look at the NBA today. All the best teams have multiple play-making, ball-handling shooters. Doncic and Smith would work together just fine.” –Ben Zajdel
“If somehow Luka Doncic fell into the Mavs lap at number 5 — you’d have to think the organization would be ecstatic. The 19-year-old European sensation would be the perfect fit in Rick Carlisle’s free-flowing offensive system. At 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, Doncic fills an immediate need for the Mavericks as a playmaking wing. Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. may not be the cleanest fit next to each other, but you’d have to believe the Wizard of Carlisle would make things work.” –Robby Lewis
“I don’t really consider any player that is expected to be picked in the top 5 as a draft steal unless I really think they will be significantly better than the rest around them. For that reason, my pick is former Spartan wing, Miles Bridges. Bridges was expected to be a first round pick after his first season with Michigan State, but he chose to return for another year under Coach Izzo. Bridges has a high IQ and a nose for the ball and I think he will turn into an above average player on both ends of the court.” –Kohl Rast
The good news is, when the Mavs make their selection at number five, there will undoubtedly be a player there who has the opportunity to be great. Even if he isn’t considered a draft steal, the Mavs should end up with a nice player.