2010 NBA Draft: Who Is on the Dallas Mavericks' Draft Board?
Let's be honest: For the handful of teams that consider themselves contenders, the draft ain't no thang.
Teams like the Lakers, Cavaliers, Celtics, Spurs, and Magic, while they tend to draft smart, aren't exactly pinning their fortunes on the 2010 draft. The Mavericks can count themselves among those groups.
Rodrigue Beaubois and Josh Howard were nice surprises, but others like Shan Foster and Maurice Ager haven't really panned out.
The Mavericks enter the 2010 draft with only the 50th pick. Their first rounder is headed to New Jersey, the last piece of the Devin Harris-Jason Kidd trade puzzle.
There are plenty of rumors swirling about the Mavericks trying to move into the mid-first round, which would be dandy, but right now, we're going to examine who the Mavs can take with the 50th pick.
Let's start with what the Mavs don't need: a power forward and a point guard. They not only have hall-of-famers in those positions, but there's a bit of a logjam in those spots as well.
They also don't need any undersized guards. Jason Terry takes that cake right now for the Mavs.
What do they need? The same thing they've needed for most of the decade, a shooting guard and a center.
Even if Rodrigue Beaubois takes over some shooting guard load, and assuming Caron Butler stays with the Mavs, the Mavs don't even really need someone to be an instant contributor. Just someone who can make some three-pointers, drive to the hoop and make their foul shots.
The center position is even more nebulous. Dampier will most likely be traded, though he could come back once he's bought out. Haywood is up in the air, and I go back and forth on whether the Mavs should sign him or not like a teenage girl picking out nail polish (I went with the Candy Apple Red, by the way).
Centers in the draft are famous for burning teams. Darko Milicic and Hasheem Thabeet are just the lastest who seem to barely be worth the price of their jersey. But it's oh so hard to turn down a talented big man.
So let's take a look at who the Mavs might be targeting.
Lance Stephenson, SG, Cincinnati
Ever hard of a couple of fellows named Jerryd Bayless, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, Brandon Jennings, or Donte Greene? They are seven of the eight players featured in a documentary called "Gunnin' for that Number One Spot."
The eighth was Lance Stephenson. One of the greatest players in New York High School history, Lance Stephenson was one of the most highly regarded incoming freshmen to take the court in a while.
And then he just sort of fell off. Maybe it was because he delayed committing to a school for so long (he was also involved in a sexual assault case during that time as well), and he's had a few famous altercations with teammates.
But the man can score. At 6'5", he's the type of long, athletic scorer the Mavs have been searching for. Caron Butler has done OK at the shooting guard, but his inability to flow with an offense doesn't help things when you've got people like Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki playing off screens.
Stephenson has that natural instinct to take it to the rim, and should he fall to the Mavericks at No. 50, he will definitely have a chip on his shoulder. I don't know about you, but I like it when gifted athletes are pissed, especially when they're on my team.
With smooth sailors like Kidd, Terry, and Nowitzki on the Mavs, plus the immediate chance to play for a contender, Stephenson's issues might take care of themselves, and then you've got a capable scorer who could potentially be a franchise guy down the road.
Jon Scheyer, G, Duke
I'm not sure you people know how much this hurts. And I mean, really hurts. I've seen my least favorite NBA player (DeShawn Stevenson) play for my beloved Mavericks in a playoff game, and here I am, putting Jon Scheyer on the possibility list.
I hate Jon Scheyer. I hate everything about him. His smirk, his ugly face, the dreaded Scheyer Face. I hate that he's a national champion. I hate that he's a white guy that I root against.
But I love that he's a tall guard who can intelligently run an offense and shoot well. Plus he comes from a school where players often shut up and do what they're told, and I can respect that.
We've seen J.J. Redick step up this season and become a legit backup guard who can do a few things well. The Mavericks could use just about everything J..J Redick does. Could they get it from Scheyer?
I'm not sure Scheyer has the aggressive streak that we've seen from J.J., but then again, I would have said the same thing about J.J.
In today's NBA, you can make a decent career out of doing one thing well, and if Scheyer can provide some solid three-point shooting and some relief minutes off the bench.
Of course, the downside is he could be just like Matt Carroll, whom the Mavericks will be paying approximately $3 million a year for the next few seasons.
If Scheyer doesn't pan out, he's just another roster spot clogged with a stiff whitey who can't shoot. If he does, he could be a J.J. Barea type, except that he could actually shoot over people.
I think Scheyer would learn the offense well, and under Kidd he might learn how to be a better leader. Will Scheyer ever be a starting guard on a contender? Probably not. But for a 50th pick, the Mavs could add a solid skill set.
Sylven Landesberg, SG, University of Virginia
I'm not sure you all appreciate how much this hurts. As a Va. Tech Hokie, the thought of the Mavericks drafting players from my most hated schools isn't appetizing.
But a 6'6" shooting guard? Well, hot damn! Bring him on in.
Landesburg is another one of those long, athletic shooting guards that is just plain good at putting the ball in the hoop. His percentages aren't exactly mind-blowing, but he has a good feel for the game, and you better believe he didn't have a passer like Jason Kidd and a primary threat like Dirk Nowitzki playing with him at UVA,
He averaged almost five rebounds and three assists in college, so the ability to be more than just a scorer is there. With his size and the increasing amount of teams with smaller shooting guards (especially in the Southwest), Landesberg could find himself a niche very quickly.
New Orleans, should they roll out some sort of Paul/Collison/Thornton backcourt combo, would be hard up to guard someone as explosive as Landesberg.
He's got a nice aggressive style about him, where he likes to break his man down off the dribble. Caron Butler does that too, but with Caron you know he's going to pull up for the jumper.
Landesberg figures to be more of a slasher, and a slasher is exactly what the Mavs need, nay, have always needed.
In fact, he may be too much of a slasher, because a lot of teams neutralized him by giving him space and forcing him to pull up. While that's a bit concerning for other teams, his instinct to attack first and pull up second could make him a valuable piece, and maybe his attitude will be contagious.
For a team that is notoriously jumper-heavy, someone like Landesberg could do wonders, especially if he can draw attention and kick it out to open shooters as well.
Nemanja Bjelica, G/F, Serbia
He's 6'10". He can play four positions on the floor, including point guard. He's everything we ever wanted Lamar Odom to be, minus the devastating candy addiction.
Here's a guy who can pull down a rebound over a center, dribble it quickly up the floor, find a mismatch with a guard, post said guard up, and score quickly. It's amazing to watch, and for a team that can run as well as the Mavs, he could be a real weapon.
At 22, he has already proven himself adept at the pick and roll, something the Mavericks love to play. Most importantly, he can set the picks and then come off them to receive the ball, adding a pick and pop dimension that players like Erick Dampier could never give the Mavs.
He's like a more athletic Hedo Turkoglu, and as we saw in the 2009 playoffs, that's a hell of a mismatch. He lacks the shooting stroke that Turkoglu has, but he also scored much lower in the "sign a huge contract and then beg to get off your team a year later" factor, as measured at the NBA Draft Combine.
He could see some decent minutes at small forward, where he can provide a big body to help slow down some players, and if the Mavs play small, he would be a great weapon at the power forward spot.
Also importantly, he's a good passer, and he looks for the pass. He's not a "throw him the ball down low and sit back and watch the show" type post player, he keeps his teammates involved, always ready to find an open man quickly out of the low post.
We've seen the damage that someone like Pau Gasol can do with his passing skills, and Bjelica can do the same. He's got a decent jumper, and a pretty good low post game.
Basically, he's a 6'10" guy that does a lot of things well. He could be a secret weapon for the right team, and if the Mavs are feeling frisky, he could fit the bill.
He doesn't have much of a first step, and a major knock on him has been his willingness to pull up for contested jumpers. That's not a good sign, and not something the Mavs need any more of, but if he's playing with some of the best in the world, and picking it up slowly, the Mavs can find the right way to use him.
Dexter Pittman, C, Texas
Dexter Pittman is a big boy. And I mean it. He weighed almost 400 pounds coming out of high scool, but lost more than 90 pounds over his college career.
What he didn't lose was a large pair of mitts that ranks as the biggest hands in the draft. At 6'10", he has the potential to be a rich man's Erick Dampier. He has a tough interior presence like Dampier does, only Pittman is the type that can finish around the rim.
With players like Kidd in the game, there are always plenty of opportunities for a center on the Mavericks to finish around the rim, and Mavs fans have watched the ball bounce out of Damp's hands too many times.
Pittman's numbers in college aren't exactly mind-blowing (10.4 pts, 5.9 rebs last season), but his body size make him an ideal second-round project.
He does have a knack for rebounding though, more than half of his rebounds last season were on the offensive end. A team like the Mavericks could use a center to get some offensive boards, giving them second chances. With the shooters the Mavs have, the more chances they have, the more points they score.
Of the prospects here, Pittman might be the one most destined to spend some time in the D-League, but he could definitely make a splash with the big boys. He could be an ideal project should the Mavs move up in the draft for a shooting guard.
Tibor Pleiss, C, Germany
What's not to like about Tibor Pleiss? He's got an awesome name. He's German. He sort of looks like Ivan Drago, my second favorite fictional boxer.
What's that? Can he play basketball? Well, sure, it's a free country.
In all seriousness, if I had written this article when I first started collecting names, Pleiss would have been a more realistic option. He is apparently shooting up draft boards, and rumor has it that the Mavs are trying to leapfrog Oklahoma City for him and that Oklahoma City is trying to get him before the Spurs could.
Either way, if the Mavs move up, this might be the guy they move up to get. He's got good ball handling skills, he's got some decent post up moves, and he has a pretty reliable mid-range jumper.
I've heard him compared to a young Zyndrunas Ilgauskas. You know, one whose feet haven't been devastated by three-plus decades of carrying around a seven-foot frame.
Pleiss' biggest weakness seems to be his strength. He is long and lean, but really doesn't have the muscle to body up big guys in the post. When you figure your competition is players like Andrew Bynum and Tim Duncan, I think it's safe to say that you need some of that muscle.
He could be a player the Mavs stash in Europe for a while, but if they have to move up to get him, that could be a big waste.
Brian Zoubek, C, Duke
Just another big whitey stiff, and from Duke to boot, but Zoubek has some skills that the Mavericks could really use. He's big, 7'1" and he's a hustle player. The Mavs will most likely need someone to set the hard screens without Erick Dampier, and Zoubek is a player that will do that without needing more of a role.
He's also pretty good at defending the rim, another result of his hustle. While Damp did some good things in Dallas, hustle was never something we could count on him for on a regular basis.
The Mavs could use a hard pick-setter and a guy who will fight for the ball around the rim. Worst case, I see Zoubek being sort of like Ryan Hollins, the body is there, but the skills and opportunity isn't.
Best case, he could be a solid center than doesn't need the ball much, and can move well without the ball. If the Mavs are searching for consistent low-post scoring, they'll have to look elsewhere.
He is a good passer though, so if he is ever able to develop a decent offensive game, he could help in the low-post department.
I would like to hope the Mavs could do better than Zoubek since they are set up to make a splash sooner rather than later, and project centers never seem to work out for them.
On the plus side, he is from Haddonfield, N.J., but no confirmed news as to his whereabouts on Halloween night.