It's a good thing I'm not too fast of a writer. I was several paragraphs deep into a story about how the Dallas Mavericks addressed two glaring needs with the selections of Dominique Jones and Solomon Alabi, when, seven picks later, Alabi was on his way to the Raptors for a future second-rounder.
Instead, the Mavericks are "stuck" with Dominique Jones, who plays a very D-Wade style of basketball, which is exactly what the Mavs need.
Dominique Jones: Wave of the Future
Jones, despite entering a backcourt that's already crowded with Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Rodrigue Beaubois, and JJ Barea, has the chance to leapfrog over all of those players in the rotation.
None of the players named are true 2s, and Jones is exactly what the Mavs have needed at that position. Though Antoine Wright and Maurice Ager supposedly were exactly what the Mavs needed at that position too, so let's not get too ahead of ourselves.
What Jones does is score the basketball. He shoots well from all over, but his first instinct is to attack, which no one else on the Mavs, with the possible exception of Barea, shares.
Jones also runs the floor well and passes very well on the fast break. This gives him an immediate edge over Butler, whose only solution to getting rid of the ball involves him shooting.
What Could Have Been
However, I wouldn't give the Mavs an 'A' on this draft just yet, because they did trade away their second round pick, center Solomon Alabi.
I was really happy with the pick—favorites like Dexter Pittman and Tibor Pleiss were off the board, and Alabi seemed a more athletic choice than someone like Brian Zoubek.
With Erick Dampier most certainly on his way out, and Brendan Haywood possibly following close behind, the Mavericks do not have a center on their roster. More importantly, there isn't a marquee center on the free agent list.
Drew Gooden would be a nice signing, but if he's your season-long plan at center, you could be in a lot of trouble.
Speaking of Long-Term Plans at Center...
The fact that the Mavericks felt comfortable enough to trade away Alabi for a future second-rounder gives us a glimpse into their long-term strategy.
First, that means they are either counting on re-signing Haywood (no sure thing from my perspective), or they are counting on Dampier returning.
To dig a little deeper, they also could be counting on Shaq coming to the Mavs.
I don't think the Mavs will overpay him (though let's be honest, history doesn't agree with me), and he won't be more than a backup (he'd play the same number of minutes Marcin Gortat plays in Orlando), but he could be an interesting choice.
And now that I've already mentioned Gortat, remember, a trade could be in the works for him as well, and the Mavericks can now sign him after last year's debacle.
The fact that Alabi was sent away means that I'm not comfortable giving the draft an A, just a C+.
Call me crazy, but the Mavericks' front office probably has more of the big picture in mind than I do. So the draft leaves me optimistic, but as of now it didn't blow me away.