The draft. It's like free agency, only more exciting.
Generally, with free agents, you've got a decent idea of what you're going to get, as there are seasons too look at to see how someone performs against the best of the best.
The draft? No such thing.
These players have been playing against inferior competition, whether in college or overseas, and there's no guarantee that they will pan out.
Sure, they could be dominant in college. Michael Beasley was. Kevin Durant was. But translating that game to the pros is a different story.
Emeka Okafor was also dominant, and the Magic were lambasted for passing on him to take a kid with braces, the same kid (now sans braces) who is the best player on a Finals-bound team.
So you never know.
Nothing in the draft is guaranteed. Blake Griffin is supposedly a guarantee. So was Kwame Brown, so was Greg Oden. Things happen.
But the draft is also how teams can go from lottery to championship, sometimes within a few years.
So it is in the draft that the Dallas Mavericks must find a player to fill a need/all needs.
It's a tall order, but it can be done. Miracles can happen, and the Mavs have the tools to accomplish such a miracle.
The combination of a shaky economy, a buyer's mentality, and some attractive free agents/contracts put the Mavs in a unique position.
They can buy picks, trade up, or find themselves a blue-chip free agent.
I'm not the GM of the Mavs (their choice, not mine), but here's a scenario I would love to see.
Mavs trade Erick Dampier, Jerry Stackhouse and the no. 22 pick to Memphis for the No. 2 pick
As lopsided as that trade is, it's not even the worst trade Memphis has made in the past two seasons.
Memphis has two problems. They don't have size, and they don't have money.
Their lack of size is so extreme, that Hasheem Thabeet is an option for them at no. 2.
Well, why not take Erick Dampier, who's a serviceable center with an expiring contract? It's not like Memphis is gunning for the Finals anytime soon. Pair Dampier with Marc Gasol, and suddenly you've got a pretty solid frontcourt.
Not world-beaters by any means, but a decent combo, which will give them some room at the end of next season.
And Stack's basically expiring deal, plus the lack of a top-five pick to pay, will give Memphis even more cash to not spend on free agents and try and keep themselves afloat.
"With the no. 2 pick, the Dallas Mavericks select Ricky Rubio."
I won't lie. I hear those words in my dreams. I'm getting giddy just thinking about it.
Assuming the Mavericks can re-sign Kidd, Rubio would be the perfect pick. Not only can Rubio learn from one of the greatest point guard mentors the game has ever known, he can split time with Kidd, and by the time Kidd's two-year deal is up, Rubio will be 20 years old, and ready to lead the Mavs into a bright and uncertain future.
Rubio is everything Kidd is, without the slow feet on defense. He can pass with angles never before though possible, he can hit the open shot, and he is young and quick enough to be able to lead the fast break, something the Mavericks got very good at with a full year under Kidd.
Plus, let's be honest here. The word coming out of Rubio's camp is that he doesn't plan on leaving the comfort of Spain without a few guarantees.
Paul Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Juan Carlos Navarro have pretty much warned Rubio of the quagmire his career would become in Memphis.
Rubio also doesn't want to join a team that's going nowhere, which is precisely the destination that most of the lottery teams are heading.
We've knocked out Memphis, but Oklahoma City would be an interesting option for Rubio.
They could move Westbrook to the 2, Durant to the 3 (both of their natural positions) and be set with a young, dynamic core. But OKC isn't exactly the market Rubio and co. had in mind.
Sacramento? They''ll be lucky to have a head coach by the draft, plus they dumped their talent in the trade with the Bulls. They're on the slow train to nowhere (or Las Vegas/Kansas City).
Rest assured, if the Wiz or the Suns have the No. 5 pick, that's where Rubio will go. The Mavericks need to find a way to jump before those teams, and secure their point guard of the future.
We've seen what a rookie PG can do with a team that has previously failed to live up to its potential. Derrick Rose has got the Bulls in the winning mood again.
It would be perfectly lovely to see Ricky Rubio doing the same thing for the Dallas Mavericks.