Best player for Dallas Mavericks to draft at 26th overall: 3. Walker Kessler
The Mavs need another big man to replace Dwight Powell in the starting five. They lacked rim protection and rebounding on their run to the Western Conference Finals, and improving their center depth is among general manager and president of basketball operations Nico Harrison’s top priorities this offseason.
Kessler barely played at North Carolina before transferring to Auburn for his sophomore season where he averaged 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 4.6 blocks in 25.6 minutes per game. Yes, you read that correctly. Kessler blocked more than four shots every night. It kept his minutes down because foul trouble would creep in, but Kessler is one of the best shot blockers and rim protectors in this draft class.
The 20-year-old is an outstanding defender. He held his own on the perimeter this season and did well defending pick and rolls. Much talk will center on his rim protection because of the eye-popping blocks, but Kessler can just flat-out defend.
The 7’1 big man has shown flashes in the pick and roll and is working on his 3-point shooting. Kessler is a 20-year-old big man with immense potential. Can be become a stretch five in the NBA that can consistently knock down threes? Even if the answer is no, Kessler is the rim protector and rebounder the Dallas Mavericks need to help round out their roster.