On day nine of NBA Draftmas, the Dallas Mavericks’ draft needs and targets will be analyzed.
The Mavericks are in a weird place in their franchise as Dirk Nowitzki winds down his career surrounded by a bunch of youth who aren’t ready to win big yet. Dallas did everything in their power to tank at the end of the season in order to get a higher pick, but have to settle for ninth selection overall. That pick won’t be enough to make the Mavericks a contender again, but could help the rebuilding process.
Scoring is what Dallas needs most, as they finished last in the league in points per game and were the only team to average under 100 points per game. Harrison Barnes led the team in scoring with 19.2 points per game and had a help from Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews, but Dallas needs someone who can create their own shot, much like a younger Nowitzki did. They were in the middle of the league in three point shooting, but do have a few really good shooters, especially Seth Curry.
The rebounding was the worst in the league last season and will need to be improved also. Acquiring Nerlens Noel at the deadline will help, but more is needed than his 6.8 rebounds per game.
Dallas had the fourth best defense in the league and will be looking to keep that up, while adding a scoring punch for next season. They shed veteran Deron Williams to the Cavs and now have a lot of nice young pieces that need to develop.
Dallas Mavericks DRAFT PICKS & NEEDS
Dallas only has their first round pick and needs to hit on it to help the future of the franchise.
First Round: No. 9
Second Round: N/A
Addressing their scoring and rebounding are their biggest needs, but may not be able to address it fully with their one pick. More is needed from free agency.
TARGETS & THOUGHTS
Option #1: Pick #9: Lauri Markkanen, PF/C, Arizona
Markkanen plays a lot like Nowitzki, which could make him appealing to the Mavericks. He is a multi-dimensional player that is unlike any in this draft class.
The most remarkable thing about him is that he led the Pac-12 in three point percentage, which is incredible given his 7’0″ height. He averaged 15.6 points per game, but shows the signs that he can score more in the NBA where the floor is spaced more. Working with Nowitzki on how to improve his game should help him grow more.
Some of the areas he needs to improve include: defense, play strength, rebounding and post offense. He was average at defense in college, but the NBA will provide a new challenge. If he wishes to play down low more, Markkanen will need to add muscle. It doesn’t have to be a great amount of strength he adds, but a little more is needed. He only averaged 7.2 rebounds per game at Arizona, but the Wildcats had plenty of big guys rebounding the ball, so with some development he can be a good rebounder. If anyone can help him develop more post moves, Nowitzki is the man.
Ultimately Markkanen can space the floor and provide scoring and three point shooting. If he develops, he should help rebounding a little bit. He can help the Mavericks fill both needs. At worst he will compare to a Ryan Anderson and if he develops, which is a big if, he could look like a clone of Nowitzki.
Option #2: Pick #9: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
Ntilikina will likely be the first player who didn’t play college basketball to be drafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. He has a lot of potential, but is a boom or bust prospect.
General manager Donnie Nelson likes taking international players and could want to take Ntilikina. Ntilikina is a big, lengthy guard who played professionally in France for Strasbourg. He will add some value shooting from behind-the-arc, as he shot 40% in France, but he only attempted one three pointer a game in his career.
He should be able to develop into a good defender with his good length, but it will take a while. He doesn’t score a lot and will be harder for him to become proficient at. Ntilikina averaged 5.2 points per game last season and just 1.4 assists. If he is selected this highly, a team will be picking him based on potential and measurables.
The Mavericks will need more than just this one draft pick to help rebuild the roster. While Ntilikina would take a while to develop into an NBA player, Markkanen could help out immediately. Taking Markanen would be preferred and getting some decent players in free agency will help the growth of the franchise.
Thanks for checking out the Dallas Mavericks 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day ten of NBA Draftmas to see what the Charlotte Hornets are going to do.
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