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Undrafted Free Agents Who Would Be Steals for Dallas Mavericks

Thomas DuffyFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2014

Undrafted Free Agents Who Would Be Steals for Dallas Mavericks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The Dallas Mavericks have become one of the NBA’s most consistent contenders, making the playoffs in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

    But on draft night, Dallas has struggled mightily in recent years.

    The Mavs have made a substantial amount of draft-day trades—including a deal that brought in the face of their franchise, and future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki—but have picked a whole lot of scrubs, too.

    Here's an eye-opening take by NBC's Richie Witt:

    By my math the Mavs haven’t made a “good” draft pick since taking Josh Howard at the end of the first round back in 2003. Since then – we’re talking 10 drafts – the Mavs have selected with their first overall pick only two players that have actually scored points (88 combined) for them: Maurice Ager in ’06 and Nick Fazekas in ’07. And, nope, neither is threatening to have their numbers raised to the roof at American Airlines Center.

    Just a day before the 2014 draft, Dallas traded both of its selections, the 34th and the 51st, to the New York Knicks. Those picks turned into Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

    In addition, Dallas sent Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert and Wayne Ellington to New York in exchange for Tyson Chandler, who won a title with the Mavericks in 2010-11, and Raymond Felton.

    Despite the Mavs' inactivity on draft night this year, the team can still benefit from a talented class of players who didn’t have the pleasure of hearing their names called.

5. Fuquan Edwin

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    At 36 years old, Shawn Marion isn’t a young man anymore. And while the 15-year veteran has still proven to be effective in the waning years of his career, bringing in a rookie like Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin would show great foresight by the Mavs.

    Edwin, who owns the Pirates' record for career steals, is a big-time athlete whose defensive prowess will likely earn him a spot in the NBA.

    If Dallas re-signs Marion, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, Edwin will have the opportunity to grow and learn behind a player that he should aspire to emulate at the next level.

    But in the event that Marion walks, the Mavericks will then have a young player capable of filling in the gap left behind by the veteran's departure.

    The 6’6” Edwin, who ranked sixth in the country with 2.66 swipes per game while also leading Seton Hall in scoring with an average of 14.5 points, also boasts an expanding offensive game.

    He's electric in transition, possesses quality one-on-one abilities and has range from all over the court.

    A veteran-heavy Dallas team would provide Edwin with a great place to expand his game. In turn, the Mavericks would add youth and athleticism to an aging bench while planning for the future.

4. Aquille Carr

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    The Mavericks traded two of their point guards to the Knicks, and now they are left with the underachieving Felton, Gal Mekel, Monta Ellis and possibly Devin Harris, who will hit free agency on July 1.

    But how many good point guards does Dallas have? One: Ellis.

    That's why the team should take a chance on Aquille Carr.

    Carr, one of the biggest wild cards coming into the draft, has gone from high school legend to basketball nomad, jumping from overseas ball to the Developmental League to predraft workouts in the Big Apple.

    The Baltimore native is a showstopper—he’s got lightning quick handles and a daringly explosive offensive game that brings fans to their feet.

    From my June 6 feature on Carr:

    Carr has no problem challenging defenders at the rim or going straight at their chest as he bullets into the paint. The kid doesn’t lack for confidence, either.

    When Princeton Day—a private school Carr eventually ended up at in Maryland—took on perennial basketball powerhouse Huntington Prep in 2012, and Andrew Wiggins was ESPN's No. 1 ranked high school player, Carr had a playful message for the future lottery pick:

    “You can’t guard me.”

    The fact that the Mavs have a lot of cooks in the point guard kitchen shouldn’t deter them from taking a chance on the electrifying 5’6” sparkplug. After all, Ellis is the only PG worth talking about.

    Even if he’s stored in the D-League for a year or two, nabbing Carr, who could turn out to be the next Nate Robinson, is a move that will pay off down the road for Dallas.

3. James Michael McAdoo

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Two years ago, James Michael McAdoo probably would’ve been a lottery pick.

    Instead of declaring for the draft as a freshman, McAdoo decided to return to North Carolina for his sophomore year. After an even better season, the 6’9” forward again decided to go back to school.

    McAdoo, whose numbers plateaued over the course of his third year as a Tar Heel, went undrafted in 2014. But, despite the stark plummet of his draft stock, he still has a chance at making a living in the NBA.

    YearPointsReboundsFree throw percentage
    Freshman6.13.963.8
    Sophomore14.47.357.8
    Junior14.26.853.7

    The Mavericks’ frontcourt is going to be well-balanced next season, blending veterans like Nowitzki and Chandler together with younger players like Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and possibly DeJuan Blair, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

    But there isn’t a whole lot of athleticism manning the interior for Dallas. That’s where McAdoo would come in.

    Per B/R’s Adam Fromal:

    McAdoo is extremely quick for a man his size, whether changing directions, moving laterally or running in the open court. He's a fantastic athlete, capable of leaping high on the first jump and recovering quickly for the second.

    In fact, these fluid athletic tools are the most exciting thing about his future in the NBA.

    Dallas throws traditional lineups to the wind. In 2013-14, the team started two point guards and gave the 6’7” Blair a healthy dose of minutes at center.

    McAdoo—despite his 7'2.25" wingspan—isn't a true 4 at 6'9", but his comfort zone is in the paint.

    That's why the Mavericks would be an ideal landing spot for him. Head coach Rick Carlisle has a proven track record of making the most of out of unconventional lineups.

    He'd most likely be playing behind an already established rotation of veterans, but McAdoo's versatility will give him a crack at earning decent minutes.

2. C.J. Fair

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    How did C.J. Fair not get drafted?

    He led Syracuse in scoring this year with 16.5 points per game, and he was only 0.4 rebounds per game behind Jerami Grant for the team lead.

    The Mavericks, and any other NBA squad looking to improve its roster, should jump all over Fair. Immediately.

    Despite a poor showing from beyond the arc in 2013-14, the slashing Fair was efficient from the field, shooting at a clip of nearly 43 percent.

    At 6’8”, Fair can line up at either forward spot and provide platoon scoring for a Mavericks bench that was the sixth-best in the NBA last year.

    He’s not going to lead the Mavs in points per game, but Fair's uptempo game will bring a change of pace from the team’s veteran leaders.

    This one is a no-brainer. Dallas doesn’t have a gaping hole at small forward, but adding a player as young, talented and athletic as Fair would simply be a wise move.

1. Patric Young

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    Patric Young is ready for the NBA. All he needs now is a team.

    After failing to get selected in the 2014 draft, the former Florida Gators star should be receiving calls from a whole lot of executives and general managers very soon.

    Dallas should be among the first.

    B/R's draft expert Jonathan Wasserman predicted that the Houston Rockets would take Young with the 42nd overall pick. ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) had the San Antonio Spurs taking him with the final pick of the first round.

    Instead, 60 players were taken before Young. And if you've ever seen him play, you'll know that this is not the kind of guy that needs extra motivation. He plays with the type of motor that belongs in a "Transformers" movie.

    Blair is going to be a free agent this summer, and Young could serve as a younger, cheaper and more athletic alternative off of Dallas’ bench.

    The Mavs will add length and youth to an aging second unit with Young, but they’ll also get a guy who can score efficiently at the rim and protect the paint on the other end of the floor.

    During his senior year at Florida, Young put up 11 points, 6.2 boards and 1.1 blocks per game while hitting over 54 percent of his attempts from the field.

    Young is presumably going to be sought after by much of the league as the offseason unfolds.

    And the Mavericks, a team that lost two valuable picks for a pair of overpriced and underachieving Knicks, would salvage a bone-headed trade by getting Young.

The Nowitzki Factor

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Nowitzki, Marion, Blair, Harris and Vince Carter are going to be free agents this summer.

    It will be interesting to see how owner Mark Cuban and the rest of Dallas’ front office approaches this summer, being that the team is reportedly trying to land a big-time free agent like Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

    Per Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

    "All the teams with cap room got to try [to sign James]," Nowitzki said. "He's the best player in the league right now. If he's a free agent – which obviously doesn't happen very often that the best player in the league is a free agent – then you got to obviously go at it. I don't know what our chances are, but you at least have to try."

    On Anthony, Nowitzki said: "He can score with the best of them. If that's really a possibility, than we'd love to have him."

    Here’s something that you can bet the bank on: Dirk will be back.

    "I don't want to go anywhere. [Dallas owner Mark Cuban] doesn't want me to go anywhere," Nowitzki said, according to Spears. "Hopefully, it will be a short and quick meeting and get it over and we can get better as a franchise again.

    Barring an unforeseen apocalypse, Nowitzki will play out the rest of his career with the Mavs. It probably won’t take a contract as grotesque as Kobe Bryant’s to make it happen, but Dallas will have its star next season and beyond.

    Anyone can play with the ageless 36-year-old. He can score against whatever defense the opposition throws at him, and he is a willing and skilled passer who improves those around him.

    Whether it's Edwin, Carr, McAdoo, Fair, Young or another undrafted free agent that Dallas brings in, Nowitzki will raise their game.

    Surrounding Nowitzki with any of the aforementioned youngsters, who would all mesh well with the Mavericks' veteran roster, will improve Dallas' chances of making another run at an NBA title.

     

    All stats are accurate courtesy of Basketball Reference. Draft measurements are sourced from DraftExpress.

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