The defending champion Dallas Mavericks (it is still quite unbelievable to put these words on paper) will be looking to add a piece or two to their already strong roster in hopes to repeat next year as champions.
With the 26th and the 57th picks in this year’s draft, the Mavericks will have a fun time choosing which prospect to add to their team.
Mainly, the team will look to add a solid power forward to back up Dirk Nowitzki. They would also like to add a wing player than can benefit from the playmaking abilities of Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea.
Let’s take a look at the top five first and top five second-round players that the Dallas Mavericks should target.
The Mavericks will drop their idea of drafting a power forward if the players mentioned before are not available. If that is the case, they cannot pass on Singler.
Singler is NBA-ready and his career at Duke was amazing. Playing for a big program, Singler showed what he can do and also what he cannot do. He is very good, not great, at pretty much everything in basketball.
The only drawback is that Singler does not offer any upside to any team and seems to have already peaked as far as talent goes. Regardless, he is still a solid rotation player that can easily contribute as the eighth, ninth or 10th guy off the bench. In Dallas, that would be just about the roster spot he would be challenging for anyway.
Justin Harper is a terrific player, or at least he looked like a terrific player playing at Richmond.
His jump-shooting ability would be ideal for the Mavericks system that relies on perimeter shooting. He can knock down open shots all the way to the three-point line.
As the primary backup for Dirk Nowitzki, he would be more than capable of running pick-and-roll plays with J.J. Barea and Jason Terry off the bench while providing enough perimeter shooting to spell Nowitzki significant minutes.
His only drawback is that he is not quick by any means, especially on defense, and lacks the strength to defend most NBA power forwards. At the 26th pick, Dallas can gamble a little and hope that a bit more muscle and strength can turn Harper into a true power forward capable of becoming a solid rotation player off the bat.
Why JaJuan Johson is not mentioned higher on the NBA draft is unexplainable. He has an NBA-ready body, a solid offensive skill set and good defensive mechanics.
Johnson is not great at any of the things he does, but he still has upside. With a few more pounds of muscle, some learning on the defensive end and more practice with his offense against NBA-level defense, he could be a steal in this draft.
The Mavericks have the luxury of drafting Johnson and developing him during the season. Playing behind Dirk Nowitzki, he could be used for about 10 to 15 minutes a night. Playing against the other team’s second unit should give Johnson enough experience to become a solid contributor relatively quickly.
Although other players might have a higher-risk higher-reward tradeoff, Johnson is a safe and smart pick for the Mavericks at 26th.
Davis Bertans is an intriguing pick at 26th for Dallas. There is simply too much to like about this kid regardless of all the red flags around him.
He is the sole definition of a sharpshooter and his height allows him to be a true threat on the perimeter. He lacks athleticism, quickness and overall defensive awareness. Also, outside of shooting, his offensive skill set is somewhat incomplete.
The issue with this pick is the potential. Dallas is not in severe need of a player for any position (if they are able to re-sign their core players). This pick could very well be spent on a potential star.
Best-case scenario, this may be the next Dirk Nowitzki, even if it is a lesser version of the German superstar. A B-class Nowitzki would be a solid pick at 26th. Worst-case scenario, you get another Kyle Korver off the bench.
One can go around and devalue Thompkins all day because of his work ethic and questionable behavior. The talented power forward is clearly not in the best shape and his conditioning is worrisome.
Dallas is a team of veteran players coming off the accomplishment of the biggest goals of their careers. They are a team that went from nothing to champions. If this kind of team does not build maturity and dedication into Thompkins, nobody will.
Trey Thompkins is an absolute beast offensively, and can get even better if he works on his body a bit more. He provides Dallas exactly what they need: a solid inside scorer.
Talent can never be denied, and Thompkins has a lot of it. He can become a very good NBA scorer and with some mentoring from NBA veterans, an overall solid player.
Wright is a player that will be drafted solely on his athleticism. He is versatile enough to play both forward positions and he is deadly in transition.
Besides that, there really isn’t much more. He is not a very good decision-maker, and he is probably more focused on grabbing his own rebound after a missed jump shot than he is on actually making it.
If none of the above names are still on the table, Wright could be a player the Mavericks might want to give a chance during summer play and see if they like enough about him to keep him around for further development.
Matthew might not be a great basketball player, but he is a great athlete. At this point in the draft, the Mavericks might want to gamble on the athletic power forward.
The Mavericks are in desperate need of some more athleticism to complement their playmaking activities and allow them to get on transition a little more.
Matthew might spend his first year or two between the development league and the end of the bench, but with enough practice and tutoring, he can develop into a solid rotation player.
David Lightly is a well-rounded player that has the necessary focus to battle every minute he is on the floor. In an increased role with Ohio State in his last year, he showed how successful he can be at the offensive end, especially at the rim.
Lighty is somewhat turnover-prone and his perimeter shot does need significant work, but with some NBA training he should be able to improve enough to make an impact.
Lighty’s strong skill is defense, and that will certainly be of interest to the Mavericks if they end up losing DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler to free agency.
Smith will probably be available by the time the Mavericks get to their second-round pick. Although he is a bit undersized for the center position, his long arms and big hands allow him to be a strong rebounder and post defender.
The 20-year-old sophomore still has a lot of room for improvement and has the body to tone his skills enough to someday become a starter in the NBA.
If Smith falls enough spots down to the Mavericks, they will not be able to pass on him.
Shawn Marion is coming of age and if Dallas is unable to re-sign Caron Butler, they will be in need of a small forward.
He is not particularly good on either end of the court, although he did lead his team in blocked shots. He is raw in several areas but has the body and the mindset to improve and become a rotation player.
Thomas has a solid chance at cracking a roster spot in Dallas as a backup forward at either position.