7. Josh Howard
The Mavs needed a young talent next to Dirk Nowitzki in 2003 as Steve Nash and Michael Finley were heading into their 30s. Howard shockingly slipped to 29th overall, and Dallas was ecstatic to swoop him up in the draft. The 6’7 forward jumped right into the rotation and quickly became a starter. He was a two-way force for the Mavericks as they reached the NBA Finals in 2006, and the wing parlayed that into his first All-Star selection in 2007.
Every team in the league would have lined up to trade for Josh Howard in his prime. The 6’7 forward averaged 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 steal in 34.7 minutes per game over three years from 2007 to 2009.
Dallas dealt him to Washington at the 2010 trade deadline in a seven-player deal that netted the Mavericks Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson, but it was a bit too late. They got a two-time All-Star and two key role players in their 2011 championship squad, but Howard was already 29 and showed signs of decline to kick off the 2009-10 season.
Josh Howard got mixed up in some off-the-court drama that impacted his value around the league. Just six months earlier, the Dallas Mavericks could have gotten more for the former All-Star, but they held on a bit too long.