The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the 2018 Dallas Mavericks NBA draft profile.
The most press the Mavericks received all season was when their owner, Mark Cuban, openly admitted the team was tanking, and boy was he not kidding. The Mavericks finished the season with a 24-58 record, which led to a 13th place finish in the Western Conference.
It would have been interesting to see this team’s true offensive and defensive ratings for the season; however, the Mavericks were infamous for finishing games with players you would have to search on google to know they were even affiliated with the NBA. Despite that decision, Rick Carlisle’s team finished 12th in opponents points per game with 105. Conversely, they finished 28th in points per game with 102. What’s promising about these numbers, is the mere three-point difference in points for and against for a team that was actively trying to lose. It’s clear that Cuban and Carlisle are building a solid defensive foundation that will be accelerated once the infusion of talented youth mature.
The most talented of the youth, including whoever they draft this year, is Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks nailed their ninth overall selection in the 2017 draft. Smith fits the mold of the new style of NBA point guards.
He’s a dynamic, explosive athlete. While his offense isn’t totally refined, he’s certainly capable of shooting closer to 45 percent from the field, and 40 percent from three in his second season. If he can improve his decision making as an initiator, he won’t have to make such market improvements as a shooter to make this team better.
Picks And Needs
The 2018 Dallas Mavericks have three picks in this year’s draft.
First round: No. 5
Second round: No. 35, No. 54
The 2018 Dallas Mavericks need to enter the season with a plan to replace Dirk Nowitzki. The seven-foot shot-maker can’t, and won’t, play forever. If the right prospect is available, they should look to add a power forward, which would allow Harrison Barnes to play his more natural small forward position when Nerlens Noel can start at center. Given Nowitzki’s advanced age, any young player no matter their deficiencies can contribute more defensively at the power forward spot.
Targets and thoughts
Pick No. 5: Jaren Jackson, PF, Michigan State
As always, I take into account who our other writers have going ahead of the Mavericks. However, Jaren Jackson makes the most sense, unless something totally unexpected happens. The Mavericks have young starters at point guard, small forward and center.
Jackson is incredibly skilled despite being one of the youngest players in this draft class. He does almost everything you want from a big man in today’s NBA. Jackson, even with his knuckleball rotation, was able to connect from the college three-point line. His frame will allow him to add substantial weight given his shoulders and leg size. Jackson has also demonstrated impressive defensive instincts when it comes to being a rim protector.
Thankfully, Jackson can effectively improve on his weaknesses. It’s not as if he has a history of injury or has never shown interest in playing defense. The biggest knocks on Jackson are that he isn’t a great leaper, a below average passer out of the post, and his release. He doesn’t have a broken shot, but it’s uncertain how successful he’ll be with such a low release.
Pick No. 35*: De’Anthony Melton, SG, USC
The asterisk indicates that the pick is not etched in stone officially. At the beginning of the second round, the Mavericks look to replace Wesley Matthews once his contract expires after the 2018 season. De’Anthony Melton is a versatile scorer but isn’t overly good in any one area. Melton, at worst, is an NBA level athlete with the size and ability to be a capable defender.
Pick No. 55: Kenrich Williams, SF, TCU
At the end of the draft, the Mavericks can add depth at the forward position with Kenrich Williams. At 6’7″ and 230 pounds, he offers any NBA team a good option as a power forward in a “small ball” lineup. His potential is likely to be severely capped given that he would enter the NBA at 24 years old. His best skill is his rebounding ability for his size.
Featured Image courtesy of Wikipedia
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