With the NCAA basketball tournament nearly finished (the championship game will be played on Monday, April 7) and the NBA draft only a few months away, it's time for anyone and everyone to weigh in on the subject of draft eligibility.
.@mcuban on one-and-done: "The longer they stay, the more equipped they are for the real world, the more we can concentrate on basketball."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) April 1, 2014
So apparently Cuban is not a fan of underclassmen. But has the owner put his money where his mouth is and avoided drafting and playing underclassmen during his time in charge of the Mavs?
As it turns out, he has. Of course, it has been easy for Cuban to reject drafting and playing underclassmen, because the Mavs don't usually play any of their first-round picks. While this year's team did acquire No. 18 overall pick Shane Larkin in a draft-day trade with the Atlanta Hawks, they were loath to keep first-round picks during the heyday of the Dirk Nowitzki era.
Per Basketball-Reference, only two of Dallas' first-round picks have actually suited up for the team in the past 11 seasons: Maurice Ager (No. 28 overall, 2006 draft) and Josh Howard (No. 29 overall, 2003 draft). And both players were traditional four-year college men who debuted with the Mavs at age 22.
Who were the last two Dallas first-round picks to debut before their 22nd birthday? Samaki Walker (No. 9 overall, 1996 draft) and Jason Kidd (No. 2 overall, 1994 draft). Yes, that is the same Jason Kidd who is now an NBA head coach. Clearly, it has been a while.
Of course, Cuban's resolve could be tested if the Mavericks fail to make the playoffs and somehow manage to win one of the top three spots in the 2014 draft lottery. The top three players on B/R's Tyler Conway's draft board—Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker—are all underclassmen.
If Cuban snares a top-three pick, will he ignore his doubts about their life experience and go with the top-ranked senior on Conway's board, Doug McDermott? Somehow, I doubt it.