Top 5 Options for Dallas Mavericks in NBA Draft
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It's no secret that the Dallas Mavericks are willing to make a splash when July 1 rolls around.
But before they can even think about what kind of superstars or big-time players they can get from free agency, the Dallas front office needs to do something that they haven't had a good track record of doing for the majority of the team's existence:
Get some contributors via the NBA draft.
The Mavericks have had some success at times in getting the players they felt could contribute right away, with names like Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman, Jamal Mashburn, Jason Kidd and, of course, Dirk Nowitzki (via draft-day trade) coming to mind.
But they have also come across fool's gold in their draft history, with lottery picks that never panned out: remember Samaki Walker, Tony Dumas, Kelvin Cato, Cherokee Parks and Maurice Ager?
Yeah, not too promising.
However, this year's draft is deep at every position, especially if a team is looking for guys who can play valuable minutes at the power forward and center positions.
With many of the older veterans moving on and more than likely looking for new homes, this is the perfect chance for the Mavs to get younger. And with the 17th pick and a lot of uncertainty on where players may go, Dallas has a chance to grab a diamond in the rough.
So with the NBA draft just around the corner, let's take a look at five options—in no particular order—that the Mavs should target if they're available when Dallas is on the clock.
Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
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One would like to hope that, if some experts are correct, Austin Rivers will be available when Dallas is on the clock. But it's more than likely that Doc Rivers' son will be gone by the first 10 picks.
There have been questions about whether or not the electrifying guard from Duke can become the star of the team and take over a game by himself. He most certainly has the ability to do that, with his skills of hitting long-range shots, driving to the basket and not being afraid to draw contact.
There's no question that he possesses top-10 talent and could go as early as No. 8 to Toronto—a team that could desperately use a perimeter scorer—but he's one of those names that could fall if teams are skeptical of what kind of player he can be.
If he falls to No. 17, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson should get on the phone right away and make the call to Rivers. Ever since the days of Michael Finley, Dallas hasn't had anyone who can be a consistent starting shooting guard.
Jeremy Lamb from UConn is projected to be gone by the top 10, and he may definitely be the first shooting guard taken off the board.
But if Rivers falls a little bit further down, things could get interesting to the point where Dallas may be drastic enough to trade up and grab him. Who knows?
Crazier things have happened.
Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
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Kendall Marshall has been the guy in Dallas territory since he announced he would be going pro.
With Jason Kidd reportedly down to choosing between the Nets and the Knicks as a free agent, and with good confidence and faith that Deron Williams will be coming home to Dallas, it's a huge decision if Dallas should take a chance on a point guard who doesn't score the basketball that well.
The upside of his game is that he's a very accurate passer and has a high basketball IQ; more along the lines of a Kidd duplicate if you're looking for a comparison.
For a team that desperately needs perimeter scoring, Marshall isn't the guy who's going to bring the ball up the floor and drain a three-pointer in your face—but he loves to drive to the basket and kick out to open teammates, and if Dallas can bring in some more shooters, Marshall would have a field day passing the ball.
Marshall should only go to Dallas if Cuban is confident that he can't reel in D-Will. If he's sure that he'll stay in Brooklyn, this would be a safe and smart pick, and no one would feel any less slighted with him coming to Dallas.
Plus, if he's getting comparisons to J-Kidd and he came from North Carolina, who wouldn't take him?
Perry Jones III, SF/PF, Baylor
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If you're Dallas and looking for a guy with pure athleticism and someone who could be the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki, why on earth wouldn't you consider Perry Jones III?
I love this guy's game and would be ecstatic if Dallas picked him up at No. 17. At 6'11", he may look skinny from a distance, but he's all strength and toughness. He has a good array of post moves and can jump out of the gym—not to mention he has a pretty good jump shot from anywhere on the floor.
At one time, Jones was one of the more talked-about prospects in the draft and was probably going to go in the top 10. But there have been questions about what his true position is, whether he is a long, athletic small forward or an emphatic power forward on both ends of the court.
There have also been questions about his drive and his determination when he gets on the floor, but there's no doubt that if he goes to a good situation with a contending team he would benefit greatly, especially coming off the bench for a guy like Dirk.
And think for a second if you paired him in the frontcourt with Brandan Wright.
Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State
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If you've watched any bit of Mississippi State basketball at one point during this past season, you know that Arnett Moultrie is a pure double-double machine.
When you're talking about a guy who could come in and contribute on day one for Dallas, this is the guy.
Another long, athletic forward/center combo in this draft, Moultrie has a good array of what you're looking for in a big man in the middle. He can move effectively in the low post, emphatically rebound the ball and send shots back into the third row.
Moultrie played two years at UTEP before transferring to Mississippi State, and although he was overshadowed to an extent by Anthony Davis in the SEC, he held his own against Davis and Kentucky, getting 13 points and 11 rebounds in a loss.
And on some occasions, he showed he's a pretty gifted passer—not too bad when you're listed at 6'11".
He could be someone who would fit perfectly in the type of defense that Rick Carlisle draws up. If he puts on a little more weight—currently listed at 230 lbs—he would do wonders in the Dallas zone defense.
Give him a couple of years, and there could be some of Tyson Chandler's game in him.
Terrence Jones, SF/PF, Kentucky
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Terrence Jones is a rare breed of Kentucky player who stayed longer than one year to play basketball. Just think: If he left early last year, he would've been a lottery pick.
But the fact that he stayed one more year to polish up his game and continue to get better shows that he's committed to being one of the best on the floor.
Dallas would more than love to have a guy like that on the team.
Terrence Jones is another player with a tough position to define. He could be another long, athletic small forward like Perry Jones, or one who could use his entire 252-pound frame and be a bruiser in the post and outside presence as a power forward.
He may not come off as flashy, but Terrence Jones is a very good all-around player. He can defend, pass the ball and is an effective rebounder. If you can average seven rebounds a game with that Kentucky frontcourt, you've got some game.
He also shot 50 percent from the floor and is a decent three-point shooter with his size, at almost 32 percent from behind the arc.
Jones is another guy in the frontcourt who would get significant minutes right away. His body frame and strength would make him a very significant piece on defense for the Mavs, and if you come off of a national championship team, you're going to be very good.
The 2012 NBA draft will be very interesting.
Who would you like to see Dallas pick up with the 17th pick? Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments section.