Rumors: Former lottery pick on trading block, can he solve Mavs' defensive woes?

Charlotte Hornets v Sacramento Kings
Charlotte Hornets v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

After defeating the best team in the Western Conference on Sunday night in the Minnesota Timberwolves and then losing to the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks are now 22-16 on the season.

Dallas played a dissappoiting game, and came out flat after a great performance in the game prior.

The Mavs looked great on Sunday night, but couldn't follow that performance up with another win.

Rumors: Former lottery pick on trading block, can he solve Mavs' defensive woes?

The Mavericks have turned what was once a detriment into an advantage as of late. Since Christmas, Dallas ranks fourth in the association in defensive rating.

Although Dallas is still a middling defensive squad, it's clear improvements have been made. While the offense has seen a slight dip in production, a team rostering Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will rarely struggle on the offensive end.

To prevent a decline on the less glamorous end, Dallas may look to hit the trade market. Whispers have become louder as multiple players have been made available over the past few weeks.

In this case, the Sacramento Kings have appeared to be both buyers and sellers. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, and Davion Mitchell have all been made available.

And with the Kings seemingly pursuing the Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam, a busy trade deadline might very well be in store for Sacramento.

While Sacramento is still in the running for Siakam, it's become a realization that the Mavericks aren't as "viable" of an option as other teams. However, several less-heralded players are still available for trade. Such as the triumvirate listed above.

Of course, Barnes played for the Mavericks in the past. And his salary isn't logical to take on, as he's owed $37 million over the next two seasons. On the other hand, Huerter is an intriguing option. He's owed less than Barnes through 2026 and is four years younger.

However, Huerter is less of a need for the Mavericks. He would fit well, but he's a more efficient, less shot-hunting version of Tim Hardaway Jr.

Instead, Mitchell provides the most intrigue. He has only one guaranteed year left on his deal, at roughly $6 million before entering restricted free agency. And recently, the former Baylor Bear has fallen out of the rotation.

As a rookie, Mitchell averaged 27.7 minutes per game. This season, the Sacramento guard is only hitting the hardwood for 13 minutes a night. Partially due to inefficient shooting and fantastic lead-guard play on the roster, Mitchell seems to be poachable.

Mitchell has the draft pedigree (9th overall selection), youth (25 years old), and defensive intangibles to make a difference on the Mavericks roster. His shooting has left much to be desired, but he did shoot nearly 45 percent in his last season at Baylor.

On the year, Mitchell is shooting an abysmal 24.6 percent from distance. However, his corner 3-point shooting is promising. He's nailing 46.2 percent of his corner triples. His offensive value isn't entirely tied to his shooting.

Throughout his career, Mitchell averages 5.1 assists per 36 minutes. He's both a good and very willing passer. But less about his offense and more about his ridiculous defense. Mitchell is an absolute menace on the defensive end.

The Kings guard allows opponents to shoot 46.5 percent against him. He's especially pesky defending 3-point shooters, as players shoot nearly six percentage points less from beyond the arc with Mitchell as the defender.

Additionally, the Mavericks could use the extra guard help. The roster only features two true point guards, and they both start. Exum and Jaden Hardy can be used in a pinch, but Doncic and Irving-less minutes are disjointed at the offensive.

Mitchell is by no means the answer to solving the Mavericks' lead guard problems when Doncic and Irving are absent. But he does provide Dallas with an extra lead guard and a dominant perimeter defender.