Mavs Draft Roundup

By Zack Cunningham

We’re three days away from the 2018 NBA Draft and, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know the NBA rumor mill is running at 100%.

Kawhi Leonard’s feelings on the Spurs are now public which has temporarily provided NBA Twitter with something besides the mystery of Michael Porter Jr. to dwell on … and also given new life to the LeBron-to-LA narrative.

However, quietly in the background … the Dallas Mavericks have worked out Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr. and attended two of Porter Jr.’s workouts. In case you’ve been living under a slightly bigger rock, the Mavericks are slotted to pick at No. 5.

Also, this video surfaced late Sunday/early Monday of Bamba again draining deep 3s … but this time in Dallas shorts?

The case for Ayton going No. 1 to Phoenix seems to be mostly closed at this point, but from No. 2 down is anyone’s guess. The Kings have been linked to Porter Jr. and Marvin Bagley as well as Luka Doncic, who seems to have somehow slid even further down some of the more reputable NBA mock drafts (and potentially within reach to Dallas at No. 5?)

At this point, as the saying goes, it’s all a crap-shoot. You can argue that Dallas’ needs are most met by Jackson Jr. or Bamba as they fill the need the Mavs have for a defensive anchor with the potential of a 3-point threat or you can argue that Dallas needs more of an offensive infusion, a hole that players like Marvin Bagley III and Porter Jr. are more apt to fill.

There’s been a lot of talk that Jackson Jr. would be the pick for the Hawks at No. 3, but per Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, the Hawks have “ruled out” Jackson at the No. 3 spot which could leave Dallas with a tough decision two spots later.

Rumors of Memphis looking to package Chandler Parson’s albatross deal along with the No. 4 pick has some fans dreaming of Dallas owning BOTH of the Nos. 4 and 5 picks … but the Grizzlies would likely not entertain a deal that didn’t include Harrison Barnes in return, a condition Dallas is unlikely to acquiesce to (per Mike Fisher).

Could Dallas make the deal work without adding Barnes? Does Memphis hang up the phone right away? People in the know I’ve talked to say Dallas shouldn’t have to part with one of its foundation pieces to grab the No. 4 pick, and opinions on the issue range widely. Is Barnes a great player? Sure. Is he great enough for the Mavs to keep instead of closing a deal for another top-5 lottery pick? That’s debatable.

At this point in the offseason, what could be viewed as interest from a team towards a prospect could just as easily be a smokescreen put out to offset other team’s interest and to discourage clubs in front of the franchise in the drafting order from passing up on said prospect. My feeling is that there’s a lot of this surrounding Porter Jr.

Take this for example. Dallas is reportedly “comfortable” with the health risks surrounding Porter Jr. There are many layers to peel back here.

Are the Mavericks publicly expressing their trust and assurance in veteran trainer Casey Smith and his staff to be able to effectively maintain Porter Jr. should Dallas draft him? Sure. But is that the point?

Just because a team is comfortable with the risks of taking a player doesn’t mean that player is their guy. I feel there’s a lot of gamesmanship at work here, not just on the part of the Mavericks, but a lot of teams surrounding the orbit of Porter Jr. Suffice it to say, it will be fascinating to see what happens on Thursday night.

 

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Mavs slip to the No. 5 spot in NBA Draft Lottery

By Zack Cunningham

The Dallas Mavericks’ dreams of a potential top-3 draft pick in the upcoming June 21 NBA Draft were snuffed out on Tuesday night, but Dallas will still pick at the No. 5 spot after being jumped in the order by the Sacramento Kings (No. 2) and the Atlanta Hawks (No. 3).

In a cruel twist of irony, despite winning the end-of-season tiebreaker with the Hawks for the third-best odds heading into Tuesday’s drawing, Atlanta still managed to get the better of the ping pong balls and moved ahead of the Mavericks who, just minutes earlier, saw the Kinds move up as well.

It’s the second year in a row Sacramento has had good luck with the lottery.

Coming into Tuesday, the Mavericks had a 13.8% chance at the No. 1 spot and a 43.8% chance of landing in the top three positions. Their highest positional odds were at the No. 5 slot.

While seeing a potential top-3 selection fade away is frustrating, Mavs’ fans still have plenty to be excited about at which names could be available when Dallas’ name is called.

Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic are the near-consensus top 2 picks in plenty of mock drafts. After that is where the choices vary.

Marvin Bagley figures to be the likely choice for Atlanta, a team with needs basically everywhere. The Hawks could also just as feasibly go with Jaren Jackson Jr. to fill their big man need if they think he’d be a good fit with John Collins.

Memphis figures to be a prime Bagley fit if the Hawks decide to pass. I don’t think Mo Bamba or Jackson quite mesh with Memphis’ plans if they decide to retain Marc Gasol for the remainder of his deal. If he’s somehow dealt in between now and the draft then, obviously, that changes.

Then you have Dallas. The Mavericks are very likely looking at the option to pick Michael Porter Jr. or whomever is left between Jackson and Bamba. Opinions on Bamba might be the most widely-varied of any potential draft prospect out there.

Don’t count 105.3 The Fan’s Jeff “Skin” Wade among those.

I can see arguments for both Jackson and Bamba as fits for the Mavericks defensively and while Jackson may be seen as a “safer” fit due to his higher projected floor, Bamba’s upside has the potential to be higher.

That being said, I want to re-iterate that these projections are just that, projections. For the Mavericks to be faced with a choice between a potential Dirk Nowitzki replacement in Porter or a franchise-changing center in Bamba is a good situation to be in.

On to the combine!

The Mavericks Rumor Mill: Has Wesley Matthews played his last game for Dallas?

While this might be the slowest time of the NBA season for teams not in the playoffs, that doesn’t mean the NBA rumor mill ever stops churning. The Dallas Mavericks are facing potentially the most important offseason in franchise history with $12.9M in cap room, a potential top-3 draft pick and a rising young point guard salivating at the prospect of the playoffs next year.

Rumor 1 – Has Wesley Matthews played his last game as Maverick?

Dallas received the news today that its shooting guard Wes Matthews will exercise the fourth-year player option of $18 million for the 2018-19 season. While the move was widely expected, it comes with more than a few layers of intrigue for the ninth-year wing. Certainly, Matthews is Dallas’ most valuable trade chip at this point. Here are some more things to consider:

  • Matthews is now officially an expiring deal and should have a lot of intrigue for teams perhaps looking to add a veteran presence this year while offloading other burdensome contracts (at a price – Dallas will not rent its cap space for nothing) and gaining valuable cap space for the summer of 2019 free agent market.
  • Sources close to the Mavericks say the team is “shopping hard” to find a suitor for Matthews. Given the situation of several other capped-out and underachieving teams, Matthews could be an interesting fit for the Wizards should they desire to get loose from their own cap situation while the club has several contracts it would like to get out of.

Rumor 2 – How do the Mavs view Mo Bamba in the 2018 draft?

The Mavericks are looking at a very likely top 3 pick in the NBA draft in June and there’s a chance they could even draft No. 1 overall (13.8%). The consensus top pick in the draft and the name atop nearly every team’s draft board at this is most likely Deandre Ayton, who has drawn comparisons to just about every excellent big man the NBA has seen in the last 20 years. Doncic is widely viewed as the consensus No. 2 pick.

However, at spots No. 3 – 5 is where it gets tricky. Opinions range on prospects Mo Bamba (viewed as too soft), Jaren Jackson Jr. (great defender and rebounder, but is prone to serious bouts of foul trouble) and Marvin Bagley (can score at a potentially-elite level and rebounds well, but is a poor free throw shooter who struggled on defense at Duke). Michael Porter Jr. didn’t get a chance his freshman year to show scouts what a fully warmed-up version of himself can do and his back injury will give teams pause.

I mean, when videos like this come out that a big with a 7’9 wingspan and a 9’6 standing reach can hit threes like this, there’s bound to be excitement.

While there’s a risk at taking a prospect as raw offensively as Bamba as high as third in the draft, it was easy to see his defensive upside during his time at the University of Texas.

The Mavericks will certainly have a hard choice to make should they end up with the No. 3 pick, but they won’t be short on talent to choose from.

We are now officially 15 days away from the NBA Draft Lottery and a point where a lot of these rumors and ideas will become a little clearer. The Dallas Mavericks are in an enviable position even if the path to this point hasn’t been the prettiest.

Check back to thetrailing3.com for more information and news on Dallas as it becomes available!