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Mark Cuban Says He Is Reason Mavericks Passed on Drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 27:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks stands on the court in the second quarter in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Raptors during the 2017 NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center on April 27, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images))
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks, currently searching for a new centerpiece player to build around, could have drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo four years ago, but owner Mark Cuban passed on selecting him.

Cuban said during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio (h/t Thomas Lott of Sporting News) he made the decision to bypass Antetokounmpo in 2013:

"It was me. Donnie [Nelson] was like, 'OK, I'm putting my you-know-whats on the table.' He was doing the Sam Cassell, Nick Van Exel dance. ... It's all in. And I'm like, 'Donnie, we have this plan.' Because even as good as the Greek Freak has turned out to be, he was still three years away, and we wanted to try to get somebody who could help get us to the top right there and then. Didn't turn out that way, it is what it is, that happens."

The Mavericks had the 13th selection in the 2013 NBA draft, and they took Kelly Olynyk and traded his rights to the Boston Celtics.

Antetokounmpo wound up going two picks later to the Milwaukee Bucks. His production has steadily increased in each of his four NBA seasons, including setting career highs last season with 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.9 blocks and a 52.1 field-goal percentage in 80 games.

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The Mavericks finished last season with a 33-49 record, their worst mark since 1998-99. According to the NBA Roster Survey (via Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders), they started the 2016-17 season with the NBA's fourth-oldest roster at an average age of 28.36 years.

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