Dallas Mavericks: What if the Mavs drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo?

Dallas Mavericks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks passed on drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013. Here is a look at how things could be different with the Greek Freak in Dallas.

The Dallas Mavericks missed the playoffs for the first time in the 21st century after the 2012-2013 season. Looking back, the Mavs entered the NBA Draft with the 13th pick. Being late in the lottery, there weren’t many expectations on who was picked and how much of an impact they could make on the team.

With that said, the Mavericks took Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga with their pick and immediately traded him for Lucas Nogueira and two future second-round picks. Nogueira was then flipped along with Jared Cunningham and Mike Muscala for Shane Larkin.

As for Giannis Antetokounmpo, he went to the Bucks with the 15th pick. It seemed like it was a very quiet draft for the teams in the middle of the first round.

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Fast forward to today. Larkin only played a season with the Mavericks before getting traded to the Knicks as part of the Tyson Chandler deal.

As for Giannis, he is an all-star captain while in the top three race for NBA MVP.

What if?

In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Mavs owner Mark Cuban said that he was the final decision in 2013. GM Donnie Nelson had suggested drafting Giannis but Cuban chose to look for cap space instead.

While it looks pretty clear that the Mavericks had an open shot to get a Greek star for the ages, they shouldn’t be the ONLY one put to blame. Teams one through 12 also had the chance to gain a whiff of amazing potential, but all passed on for different talent.

While we still mope around about the idea, let’s see, hypothetically, how Giannis’ stats would do on the Dallas Mavericks.

Year by year

According to Basketball-Reference, Giannis played only 24 minutes per game as a rookie. He managed to score just 6.8 points per game that year for the Bucks. If he were a Maverick, it would probably be the same, given how Dallas already had Vince Carter and Shawn Marion at the wing position and young Jae Crowder only received 16 minutes per game himself.

His sophomore year saw Giannis nearly double his stats with 12.7 points per game in 31 minutes a night of action. However, as a Maverick, he probably wouldn’t see his minutes increase a ton with Chandler Parsons and Richard Jefferson blocking his path to playing time.

The 2015-16 season might be a different story. Parsons was limited to only 61 games that season, and didn’t even play at all during the playoffs. This would be Giannis’ breakout season with the Bucks, as he had 35 minutes per game and averaged 16.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game. This season would truly prove that the Mavericks made their best decision on drafting him.

From there on, it would only get better. Whether or not the Mavericks’ decided to sign Harrison Barnes would be a factor. Barnes did play most of his season at the four, while Giannis was perfectly fine at the wing position in what should be a starting role.

Other factors?

Antetokoumpo’s 3-point stats wouldn’t look good, as his best season was his first when he shot 34 percent. However, the Mavericks could’ve surrounded him with shooting talent like Seth Curry.

The one downside of all of this? The Mavericks’ might not have been as terrible as they were in the 2017-18 season where they moved up to draft Luka Doncic.

It is not impossible that the Greek Freak comes to Dallas at some point. Giannis is locked in until the summer of 2021, where he will be an unrestricted free agent. Giannis has been linked to coming to Dallas since the Mavericks have his brother, Kostas, as well as other European phenoms like Kristaps Porzingis and Luka.

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Dallas Mavericks fans will just have to wait and see.

Do you have other ideas for a What If scenario you would like to share? You can contact The Smoking Cuban’s twitter (@thesmokingcuban) or even me (@Arsal_Hussain97). We would love your suggestions!