NBA Draft: The Dallas Mavericks' Top 10 Draft Picks of All Time

Timothy Howell@@tmurrayhowellCorrespondent IIJune 24, 2011

NBA Draft: The Dallas Mavericks' Top 10 Draft Picks of All Time

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    With the 2011 NBA Draft now complete, and the trade of the Mavericks' pick—Jordan Hamilton—to Portland for Rudy Fernandez known all over the world, it's time to reminisce about the Mavs' previous drafts.

    It's hard to get too fired up about a draft after you've just won the 2011 NBA Finals.  In years past, the draft was something to look forward to—the time that the Mavericks can add that much-needed piece to help them get to a championship.

    Now that the Mavericks have their first championship, it seems they have all the pieces they'll ever need (barring free-agent departures).  

    Sure, Rudy Fernandez is a nice pick up.  Some think that the Mavs had a good thing with Hamilton. But you know what? Let's not find flaws with the Mavericks.  Not now.

No. 10: Jim Jackson

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    1992: Jim Jackson, Ohio State University: first round, fourth overall pick

    Jim Jackson was the first of the eventual "Triple J's" and arguably the best.

    He exploded onto the scene with the Mavericks in the 1992-93 season and ended up being the team's second-leading scorer (behind Derek Harper)—albeit in just 28 games.

    That season the Mavericks won 11 games. No, that is not a typo: they won 11 games.  For comparison's sake, the 2011 Dallas Mavericks had won more games in the playoffs (12) before they met the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

    The Dallas Mavericks, with Jim Jackson leading the way, would win 25 more games in his third season—1994-95.

    During that third year, Jackson averaged 25.7 points per game—and there was a new "J" in the foray, creating quite a buzz in the area.

No. 9: Jamal Mashburn

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    1993: Jamal Mashburn, University of Kentucky: first round, fourth-overall pick

    Much like Jim Jackson, Mashburn's stay in Dallas was brief—he played just three full seasons as a Maverick.

    His contributions did help the Mavericks regain at least some credibility during the mostly-bad 1990s Reunion Arena days.

    In the previous slide, it's noted that, during 1994-95 season, there was another "J" in the foray for the Mavs.

    Mashburn is the one.  He averaged 24.1 points during that 94-95 season—more impressive than Jackson's 25.7 mark due to the fact that Mashburn played in 80 games to Jackson's 51.

    Also of note, that 94-95 Mavs team had it's third-and-final "J" added to the mix.  He won't be mentioned until much later, however.

No. 8: Kiki Vandeweghe

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    1980: Kiki Vandeweghe, UCLA: first round, 11th pick, 11th overall

    A man named "Kiki" deserves to be in every top 10 list ever created, in my opinion.  

    As it turns out, Kiki was not just an excellent name for your child's first kitten—he was an excellent basketball player as well.

    He would be a fine GM with the Denver Nuggets, and an assistant coach with the Mavericks.

    He never played one game for the Dallas Mavericks.

    So why is he on here? 

    Many reasons. 

    As an assistant coach, he was instrumental in helping the Mavericks develop Dirk Nowitzki.

    Even though he played his entire career away from Dallas, he was still a good pick.  His numbers would have looked nice for a late-80s Mavericks squad that had some very good teams.

    Most importantly, he shows us that sometimes the best picks are those that are traded. Kiki's pick by the Mavericks was traded to the Nuggets for their first-round pick in 1981, and another first-round pick in 1985. Both of those picks worked out great for the Mavericks.  The 1986 pick that went with Kiki to Denver didn't work out so well.

No. 7: Derek Harper

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    1983: Derek Harper, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 11th pick, 11th overall.

    Derek Harper was my favorite Dallas Maverick as a kid. Without him drawing my attention as a precocious 11-year-old in 1986, I'd most likely be even more obsessed with baseball.

    And it's good to be a sports fan with varied tastes.  That way, when your favorite baseball team blows a two-run lead against the Houston Astros the night before, you can turn your attention to your other favorite sport, and somehow it doesn't hurt has much.

    Harper was extremely important for the Mavericks teams that had success in the mid-to-late 80s. He was arguably the third-most important player on the Rolando Blackman and Mark Aguirre-led Mavericks squads.

    During the 1992-93 season, Derek Harper was the team's leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points per game. 

    He was also an admirable veteran for a young Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn to learn about how to play successfully—the right way—in the NBA.

No. 5: Detlef Schrempf

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    1985: Detlef Schrempf, University of Washington, first round, eighth-overall pick.

    Detlef, whom all I call by his first name, not because I know him, but because his last name is even tougher to pronounce—is on this list for one reason:

    He's a cautionary tale.  

    He played his first three seasons in Dallas and was pretty good—a backup C/F type who could come in off of the bench and get you some quality points while your stars rested. 

    But that was when he was a Maverick.

    The "cautionary" part of the tale stems from the fact that as soon as he was traded, something snapped in the lithe German's psyche.

    He became an absolute monster in the playoffs over a nine-year period.  Think of what Jason Terry does from the bench for the current Dallas Mavericks.

    During Detlef's stay in Indiana with the Pacers, he averaged 19 points per game in the playoffs. 

    In five years with the Seattle Supersonics, he averaged right around 17 points per game in the playoffs.

    It's no surprise that he was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year twice.

    And, like a slogan on a dollar-store shirt, all the Mavericks got for Detlef was:

    "Herb Williams, a 1990 second-round pick and this stupid shirt". 

    Moral: Trades don't always work out so good.

No. 5: Rolando Blackman

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    1981: Rolando Blackman, Kansas State University: first round, ninth-overall pick

    This is who the Dallas Mavericks took with that first-round pick the Nuggets forked over for a man named "Kiki".  

    He played 11 of his first 13 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks.  .

    And in those 11 seasons with the Mavericks, he was outstanding.

    Blackman averaged over 20 points per game as a Maverick (20.14).

    He was absolutely essential to the success of the 1980s Mavericks playoff teams. During their 1984-85 romp through the postseason, Blackman averaged an eye-popping 32.8 points per game.

    He was everyone's favorite Maverick during a time when the only "big German" was a guy named Kiki, who actually wasn't even that big.

    And the only reason why Kiki was known at all to Mavs fans was because his trade brought in the outstanding Rolando Blackman.

No. 4: Mark Aguirre

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    1981: Mark Aguirre, DePaul University: first round, first-overall pick.

    Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackman were the "Dynamic Duo" that fueled the very solid 1980s Dallas Mavericks postseason teams.

    If Blackman wasn't the leader in scoring in the playoffs, it was because Aguirre was.

    Aguirre is probably the least talked-about NBA player to average 20 points per game of all time.

    Not only is he in the mix for a discussion of being one of the best Dallas Mavericks of all time, he's probably in that same discussion as a Detroit Piston. 

    After all, he was indispensable in the Pistons' back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

    Mark Aguirre had a wonderful career, and it can certainly be argued that he's a potential Hall of Famer.

No. 3: Josh Howard

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    2003: Josh Howard, Wake Forest University, first round, 29th-overall pick.

    This one is most assuredly going to cause a little bit of controversy.

    How could Josh Howard, who was arguably run out of Dallas for being a bonehead, be ahead of Aguirre, Blackman, Harper, or anybody else on this list for that matter?

    Two reasons:

    Josh Howard was extremely important in getting the Mavericks to their ill-fated first NBA Finals versus the Miami Heat.

    No other player on this list up to this point had gotten the Mavs this far. Granted, he had help, but his importance cannot be disregarded.

    Also, Josh Howard's trade was instrumental in getting the Mavericks back to the NBA Finals for a rematch with the Heat.

    The former first-rounder (29th in 2003) landed three former first-rounders, all of whom were picked higher in the initial round than Howard had been.

    Caron Butler (10th overall in '02), Brendan Haywood (20th overall in '01) and DeShawn Stevenson (23rd overall in '00).

    Stevenson's move to the bench during the last few games of the 2011 NBA Finals was a huge spark (one of many) that helped the Mavericks upset the ridiculously-favored Miami Heat.

    Due to injury, Josh Howard has played exactly 22 games for the Washington Wizards. 

No. 2: Jason Kidd

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    1994: Jason Kidd, University of California-Berkeley, first round, second-overall pick.

    Jason Kidd, as a rookie during the 1994-95 season with the Mavericks, was the most heralded of the "Triple J's".

    His excellent passing game is one of the main reasons that Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn got so many open looks and easy baskets during that season.

    He played in only two full seasons with the Mavericks before he was traded to the Phoenix Suns (in the middle of the 1996-97 season) for Sam Cassell, A.C. Green and Michael Finley—the latter of which, some may argue, was a key reason why the Mavericks found consistent success in the early part of the aughts.

    Those are big names that Kidd was traded for and, at the time, the trade was regarded as a good thing.

    But Kidd blossomed into the "man" once he landed with the Nets, as he led New Jersey to two NBA Finals series. In both of those appearances, Kidd and the Nets lost.

    Twelve years later, Kidd would return to Dallas.  Due to the fact that he was in his mid-30s at the time, it was viewed as a good move, but not a great move.  Devin Harris was a key constituent in that trade, and it looked as if he would become great as a Maverick.

    As hindsight tends to lend itself towards regret when you trade a young up-and-comer like Harris for an older player like Kidd—I feel certain that all Dallas Mavericks would agree today (and take solace in the fact) that looking back now on this trade, it was an excellent idea.

No.1: Robert Traylor

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    1998: Robert Traylor, University of Michigan, first round, sixth-overall pick.

    Robert Traylor was a phenomenon out of Michigan.  He was featured in many earth-shattering NCAA dunks. 

    It looked like he was going to be an NBA force for years to come.  

    Traylor never played a game for the Dallas Mavericks and it was the best trade that the Mavericks have ever made.

    This is the trade that got the Mavs their superstar, Dirk Nowitzki.

    Dirk Nowtizki has been just as important to the Dallas Mavericks as Michael Jordan was to the Chicago Bulls.

    No, that is not a comparison of Dirk to Jordan. If you took Jordan away from Chicago, they'd be better than a Dirk-less Mavericks.

    Add them in and you have multiple championships for the Bulls and one for the Mavericks.

    Sadly, Robert Traylor never lived up to his hype, averaging just 4.8 points per game over a seven-year NBA career.

    I feel confident that we all know how outstanding Dirk Nowitzki has been for the Mavericks in his 13 (and counting) years in the NBA.

    And the best thing of all is that Dirk Nowitzki isn't just a great player. He's an NBA Champion.