4 2014 NBA Draft Prospects Dallas Mavericks Must Target

Conor Volpe@cvolpe31Correspondent IJune 17, 2014

4 2014 NBA Draft Prospects Dallas Mavericks Must Target

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    It's finally time for the Dallas Mavericks to blend a little youth into the roster.

    There's no better way for an aging team to get an adrenaline shot than by drafting some young studs in June. And given that of the top seven players in minutes played only Monta Ellis is younger than thirty, a young prospect sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

    But of course with a veteran-laden team, there isn't a lot of playing time to go around. So whoever comes in is going to have their hands full. 

    Then there's the whole thing where finding a young stud is pretty difficult when Dallas is picking at No. 34 and No. 51 overall in the draft—not exactly where impact players grow on trees.

    Although, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News said that Mavs general manager Donnie Nelson likes that 34th overall pick. Nelson said there's a group of players in the 25-to-late-30s range that is essentially a wash. Meaning the Mavericks might get lucky and snag a guy they regard as a mid-twenties pick at 34.

    And with that optimism in mind and a prescription for youthful exuberance, athleticism and some defensive chops, so the targeting begins.

    All combine statistics come from draft express.com

Clint Capela

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    In that group from No. 25 to the mid thirties that Nelson mentioned should be Swiss-born Clint Capela. He might go a full ten picks before the Mavs are on the board so this one could be something of a stretch but let's try and be optimistic.

    Capela is an intriguing prospect to say the least. He stands a slender 6'11" with a wingspan of over 7'4", and he seems to have springs in his shoes. In today's NBA that's a fearsome physical profile.

    Though he lacks any semblance of a post game, Capela seems to relish defending the rim on one end of the floor and throwing himself at it on the other. He's a great athlete, and it shows on some of his highlight-reel finishes and blocks.

    His physique and style of play evokes Serge Ibaka when the OKC big man first entered the league. Both needed to add muscle, both were very raw thanks to picking up the game relatively late, and both were and are tremendous athletes. Capela has that kind of raw potential, make no mistake about it.

    If picturing that in a Mavericks uniform doesn't get you drooling, you should get checked out by a doctor.

    Of course with raw talent comes a lot of work. More like a ton of work. Years of work.

    Not only can things go wrong when trying to mold such an unfinished product, but Dallas doesn't exactly have oodles of time with Dirk Nowitzki clearly playing in the twilight of his career.

    If Dallas is still in win now mode, it's more than likely Capela will not be the pick. And as stated at the top, it might be a reach that he slides into the second round.

    But then again, ESPN's Chad Ford said that Capela's lackluster performance at the Nike Hoops Summit caused his stock to slide, which could land him right in Dallas' lap.

    And if GM Donnie Nelson is faced with that decision, he might just have to think about finally making a play for the future before it's too late.

Walter Tavares

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    Walter Tavares is similar to Clint Capela in that he's a project with crazy potential but limited basketball experience.

    And that's about where the similarities stop.

    Tavares stands an astounding 7'3" with an even more eye-popping 7'9" wingspan, according to nbadraft.net. He's from Cape Verde, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic and has only been playing basketball for a couple of years. Still, he has already distinguished himself in the Spanish League.

    The key thing for giants like Tavares is mobility. In today's NBA being big is great and all, but unless you can move things get very difficult.

    Just ask Roy Hibbert.

    The good news for Tavares is that he can actually move. In his scouting tape you can see him hedging on screens, finishing on pick-and-rolls and otherwise moving quickly for being the size of a small truck.

    Oh, and he plays defense.

    Yes, the big guy loves to block shots. In just 21.2 minutes per game, Tavares blocked 1.5 shots per game. There's an argument to be made that swatting shots and rebounding are innate instincts that certain players have and certain ones don't. Seeing as how Tavares also grabbed 6.8 rebounds per game, it looks like he has both of those instincts.

    And let's be honest, Dallas could really use some rebounding and shot-blocking. 

    But of course if Nelson and the rest of the Dallas front office aren't in a mood to build for the future, Tavares won't be the pick. He's a safer bet than Capela to be around when Dallas picks, and he's a different kind of big-man project but a project all the same. 

    He would make a great defensive anchor if he can harness his potential, and that's always a nice piece to have even if it's after Dirk rides off into the sunset. But even before Tavares is completely ready, he can use his frame and instincts to contribute right away on the defensive end.

    So though he's not ready, he might have a role to play if he's utilized correctly. So hopefully he's not as much of a long shot as he might seem.

Mitch McGary

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    Mitch McGary is another big man available in the second round who the Mavs should really want to get their hands on.

    According to ESPN's Chad Ford, many teams had a lottery grade on McGary heading into the 2013 draft. But the Michigan big man opted to return to school for a second year. During his sophomore season he suffered a back injury and missed the majority of the season. Not surprisingly his draft stock took a large hit.

    Enter the Dallas Mavericks.

    Chad Ford now has a late-first to second-round grade on McGary, which is right in Dallas' wheelhouse. McGary is also ready to contribute now, unlike the previously mentioned Clint Capela and Walter Tavares.

    While at Michigan, McGary made a name for himself by running around the court like his shorts were on fire. He didn't run the floor, he sprinted the floor. He leapt into seats for loose balls, he hustled to show on screens, and was just plain manic at times.

    Nobody is saying Dallas needs manic, but if one player in this draft is an adrenaline shot, it's Mitch McGary.

    The 6'10" McGary does not come without red flags though. According to the Detroit Free Press, recovery from back surgery has prevented him from working out for teams to this point. He also tested positive for marijuana which prompted a year-long ban for the upcoming season and spurred McGary into the draft.

    If we're sticking with an optimistic approach, these are good things for Dallas. McGary is a great rebounder and shot-blocker, and he even has some offensive skills, something increasingly rare in young big men coming up.

    And the red flags serve as a way for McGary to slip to a spot where Dallas can grab him. Though neither the back or the suspension are things a team wants to see, neither should be glaring enough to rule him out of consideration.

    McGary would do wonders in the long run to shore up things up on the glass. And in the short term, he will bring energy off the bench. 

    Dallas needs a big man, and the Mavs would do well to target one of either Tavares, Capela or McGary. If they're looking for someone to be a rotation player next year, McGary is the best bet for where they are picking the second round.

Jordan McRae

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    Jordan McRae has some great physical tools that will serve him well at the next level. At just over 6'5" he measured well at the NBA combine, but he also has a just plain stupid wingspan of just over 7'0" and an impressive vertical of 34.5 inches.

    So, at least in terms of combine measurements, he certainly fits the bill as an athletic and explosive NBA 2-guard.

    Did anybody mention he's also a sneaky shooter?

    Now the Mavs are interested. McRae made SportsCenter highlights for his above-the-rim acrobatics, but in his last two years at Tennessee he shot 35 percent on 394 attempts from beyond the arc.

    For Dallas to be interested in a guard prospect, that player has to demonstrate some shooting ability, and though he's not lights out, McRae also doesn't throw up a lot of bricks. He can be characterized as a good shooter, the kind who can create sufficient spacing on the offensive end.

    Where McRae will make his money is through his mindset to consistently attack the rim. In his senior season in Knoxville, he averaged 18.7 points and took nearly six free throws a game. He knows how to score and shows he's capable of catching fire at any point during a game.

    But where McRae will really pique Dallas' interest is on the defensive end.

    If Nelson and Rick Carlisle strictly want offense they can look to other guards like Missouri's Jabari Brown. But McCrae has shown a desire to play defense and use his pterodactyl-esque arms to hound opposing players. Combine that with a generally high motor and McCrae is a prospect who could turn into a productive, two-way contributor.

    Of course as a second-round pick there are flaws. He's a bit old at 23, he's got a quirky game and is light as a feather at 179 pounds. So there is certainly work to be done.

    That being said, having an energetic defensive guard to come off the bench isn't a bad thing. And with a little help adjusting to the NBA three-pointer, he can round out his scoring ability at the next level.

    Remember, defense is a good thing. Energy is a good thing. McRae can bring both of those things immediately to this team.