Why the Dallas Mavericks must avoid drafting Anthony Black

University of Arkansas 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Anthony Black
University of Arkansas 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Anthony Black / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

With the 2023 NBA Draft quickly approaching, who the Dallas Mavericks could select with the tenth pick has been covered extensively. One popular name is Anthony Black, a 6'7' guard from the University of Arkansas.

When you watch Black on the basketball court, there is definitely a lot to like from a scouting perspective.

Offensively, he is a good passer (3.9 assists per game) that is patient and plays at his own pace. He flashes a high basketball I.Q. and displays that via his playmaking and off-ball movement. Black is very good at creating for others as the ball handler in the pick-and-roll and is borderline elite at his ability to drive to the basket and finish through contact.

Defensively, his ability to generate steals (2.1 steals per game) as both an on and off-ball defender while making timely rotations, again, showed off his high basketball intelligence. As a straight-up on-ball defender, he was good and arguably elite. However, he needs to get better in his screen defense and can occasionally get pushed off his spot by stronger guards. Regardless, Black displayed the potential to grow into an elite-level NBA defender down the line.

He is also a good rebounder for a guard, as he averaged 5.1 rebounds per game during his only season in college.

So, why would it be a mistake for the Dallas Mavericks to draft him with the tenth pick?

Specifically, it is his offensive repertoire versus what Dallas needs right now.

Black is at his best while going downhill in transition or driving with his right hand. When defenders would cut that off, he didn't show that he had many counters to punish defenses. This led to some games with a high amount of turnovers and forced shots in traffic.

While he was very good at driving to the rim, he was almost equally as bad a shooter. He shot only 30.1 percent from three-point range on only 2.6 attempts per game. His shooting mechanics are also slow, and not as smooth as you would like them to be. When shooting off the dribble, his shot also has a tendency to fall flat, which leads to some bad misses.

In college, opposing defenses would commonly give him a large amount of space to shoot jumpers,
(including mid-range pull-ups and going under on screen and rolls). They didn't respect his ability to make shots, which makes his low shooting percentages even more concerning.

This created spacing issues (in addition to other roster/schematic reasons) in the half-court for his offense at Arkansas.

This has to be looked at from a Dallas Maverick perspective. The Mavs don't need a defensive playmaking guard that isn't a good shooter, at least not at the cost of the tenth pick in the NBA Draft. Whether the Mavs keep their pick and draft a player, or use the pick in a trade, they must acquire a guy that can have a positive impact in year one.

The ball is going to be in the hands of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving (assuming he re-signs with Dallas) most of the time. Outside of that duo, Jaden Hardy appears to be the player who will get more ball-handling duties, in addition to Josh Green.

In the half-court, as we stated earlier, one of Black's biggest impacts was his ability to navigate the pick and roll and create shots for others. This would be neutralized as the fourth or fifth ball handler for the Mavs.

Black would have the biggest impact on a team where he can be one of the lead playmakers, either as a starter or off the bench. It would also give him the best chance at developing and reaching his full potential. In Dallas, he would mostly be relegated to playing a 3-and-D role, which doesn't fit who he is as a player.

The Mavericks' primary needs this off-season are defense, rim protection, and rebounding. Ideally, they need to add a defensive wing that can shoot threes and a big man that can provide a defensive presence. Outside of his defensive potential, Black doesn't check off enough boxes to help the Mavericks next season.

AB may very well become a great NBA player in a few years, but the Mavs are trying to compete now, and there are other prospects available that can have a more positive impact early on than Black can in a Mavs uniform.