Prospects Mavericks Fans Should Watch in March Madness 2021

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

Prospects Mavericks Fans Should Watch in March Madness 2021

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    Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

    The Dallas Mavericks better do some homework if they hope to land a rotation player during the 2021 NBA draft.

    That or be ready to give something up to trade into the opening round.

    Dallas' first-rounder belongs to the New York Knicks as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. That leaves the Mavs with only their second-round choice, which figures to fall somewhere in or near the 40s.

    While every draft pick is an educated guess at best, this stage of the draft is basically a dart throw.

    Saying that, here are three potential second-round prospects the team could be tracking during the 2021 NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Luka Garza, C, Iowa

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    If you're throwing a dart anyway, why not aim it at the best player in men's college basketball, right?

    Luka Garza—who should sweep the player of the year awards—unquestionably has NBA game. He torches opposing defenses from the paint to the perimeter, he's a workhorse on the glass and he'll position himself for easy buckets simply by beating his matchup to the other end.

    The question is whether he has NBA athleticism, or enough to fake his way through it. He's slow and heavy-footed, and he could be so exposed defensively that he's effectively unusable.

    But his talent should intrigue at some point in the second round, where he would provide good value even if he tops out as a situational scorer.

    Garza's second-seeded Hawkeyes open with 15th-seeded Grand Canyon on Saturday (6:25 p.m. ET on TBS).

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, SF/PF, Villanova

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    Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

    If the Mavs are in the market for a frontcourt lift, they might prefer someone who can play alongside Kristaps Porzingis and not just back him up.

    Jeremiah Robinson-Earl could catch their attention for that exact role. He's not a cornerstone prospect—few second-rounders ever are—but he's built to support stars like Porzingis and Luka Doncic with well-rounded skills, sound instincts and a veteran-type approach to stay in his lane.

    Robinson-Earl's toolbox doesn't have a standout skill, but it's also absent glaring holes in his game. His three-point shot is spotty (28.4 percent this season), but his accuracy at the foul line suggests there could be good shooting in his future (career 77.5). He doesn't have the length or explosion to protect the rim, but the Mavs could pair him with a top-shelf shot-eraser in Porzingis (career 2.0 blocks per game).

    Robinson-Earl and the fifth-seeded Villanova tip off against 12th-seeded Winthrop on Friday night (9:57 p.m. ET on TNT).

Moses Wright, C, Georgia Tech

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Mavs could be in the market for big-man depth given Porzingis' injury history and the uncertain futures of Willie Cauley-Stein ($4.1 million team option for 2021-22) and Boban Marjanovic (unrestricted free agent at season's end).

    Moses Wright could scratch that itch. The ACC Player of the Year paced the Yellow Jackets in points (17.4), rebounds (8.0) and blocks (1.6). He had seven double-doubles in 25 games, including four with at least 26 points.

    Wright is a handful around the rim, and he moves well without the basketball. Dallas wouldn't ask him to create offense, but he has serviceable handles for a center and is able to find open teammates.

    Dallas fans will need some help from Wright's supporting cast to get a glimpse of him, though. He reportedly won't be available when Georgia Tech starts tournament play against eighth-seeded Loyola-Chicago on Friday (4 p.m. ET on TBS), according to ESPN's Jeff Borzello.