The Dallas Mavericks have hit two unquestioned home runs in the NBA Draft, but the franchise does not get credit for either technically. They made draft night trades to land Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic. Acquiring two legends in the draft 20 years apart is impossible and impressive, regardless of what teams actually drafted them.
No franchise has a perfect track record in the NBA Draft. There are too many unknowns about the often teenage prospects. A few late bloomers always slip through the cracks and become stars and other top prospects do not pan out in the NBA.
Every draft can be a franchise-altering one. Landing a future All-Star on a rookie contract makes roster building easier, but here is a look at seven times Dallas failed to draft that player, despite being in a prime position to make it happen.
7 All-Stars that the Dallas Mavericks passed on in the NBA Draft
7. Shawn Kemp 1989 NBA Draft (17th overall)
Mavericks selection: Randy White (8th overall)
In 1989, the Mavs had just missed the playoffs for the first time in six years, and they were searching for a young forward that could help them get back in 1990. It was only the franchise’s ninth season, but some fantastic early trades set them up for success, including reaching the conference finals for the first time in 1988.
The Mavericks took Randy White with the eighth overall pick, and the 6’8 forward averaged over 20 minutes just twice in his NBA career. He lasted just five years in Dallas where he produced 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds on 40.1 percent shooting from the field for his career. White went on to finish his playing days overseas, including stops in Russia and Israel.
The NBA Draft was loaded in 1989 with nine future All-Stars in the class and seven of them were still on the board when Dallas selected.
Dallas Mavericks missed on 7 future All-Stars including Shawn Kemp
Kemp quickly blossom into a starter before making six straight All-Star appearances from 1993 to 1998. The 6'10 human highlight reel was known for throwing down monster dunks and putting people on posters. Kemp was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics where he partnered with Gary Payton to lead them to the NBA Finals in 1996 before losing to Michael Jordan’s Bulls.
Future Hall of Famers Tim Hardaway Sr. and Vlade Divac were also still on the board, but Dallas drafted a power forward in White. It was not the right one, and things would have been massive different for the Mavs if they took Shawn Kemp instead. They likely would have avoided the decade-long playoff drought that was ahead in the 1990s.
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