The Dallas Mavericks are clinging to the tenth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft heading into the May 16 lottery. It will be a franchise-altering night because they owe their first-round selection to the Knicks with a top ten protection. That means if one team jumps Dallas in the lottery, their pick heads to New York.
Victor Wembanyama headlines the 2023 draft class, and he is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James. Teams have been salivating for years about getting their hands on the 7’5 French teenager, but at one point, Emoni Bates was the most hyped American prospect in this class. At 15 years old, Bates drew comparisons to Kevin Durant (subscription required), and he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Bates struggled to close his high school career and in his first year of college before bouncing back with Eastern Michigan this season. He is no longer considered a top prospect, but the 6’9 forward worked out for the Mavs this week. Does he fit in Dallas?
Will Dallas Mavericks select Emoni Bates in the 2023 NBA Draft?
Bates will not be selected in the top ten, and the Mavericks traded their second-round pick. Getting back into the second round is not hard. After pick 40, selections are bought with cash nearly every year. Fans know owner Mark Cuban has deep pockets, but would he be willing to spend to draft Bates?
Bates comes with some hype, but he has already ridden the basketball rollercoaster. He went from top prospect to question mark to afterthought back to question mark. The 19-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 33.8 minutes per game this season for Eastern Michigan, but the Eagles struggled mightily and Bates shot just 40.5 percent from the field and 33.0 percent on his 3-point attempts.
His inefficient shooting and lack of winning are massive questions surrounding his draft stock. Some project him to go in the late first round and others believe he will be undrafted. Does some team convince themselves that they can help Emoni Bates realize his immense potential? He must add mass and improve his playmaking ability to be a consistent contributor in the NBA.
The Dallas Mavericks found a gem in Jaden Hardy by selecting a once-hyped prospect in the second round. Could they do it again with Emoni Bates? It feels far-fetched, but general manager Nico Harrison might pull it off on June 22. Stay tuned to find out.