In this year’s NBA Draft the Dallas Mavericks had zero picks. The Oklahoma City Thunder had their first round pick, through the Lamar Odom trade, and the Knicks recently acquired both second round picks as part of the Tyson Chandler deal. So watching the draft as a Mavs fan was lackluster to say the least. Luckily, a few quality players went undrafted, a testament to the depth of this year’s draft, and are ripe for the picking.
First off, the Mavericks have already signed C.J. Fair, a 6’8” small forward from Syracuse. He adds help on the wing and was expected to be drafted sometime in the second round so to sign him is a nice consolation prize, especially after reading that the Mavericks would have likely drafted him with one of their second round picks anyway. So, that helps the pain of having no picks this year.
Patric Young– A lot has been written, some good, some bad, about Patric Young. He has his strengths, both literally and figuratively, and his weaknesses, strictly figuratively. He is a freak, coming in at 6’10” 250 lbs. and not an ounce of fat on him. He is very limited offensively, where he has to rely on his teammates to create for him or try to put back an offensive rebound. That about wraps up his offensive repertoire. He does have a decent baby hook, but in the NBA or D-League for that matter, it would be more wise to keep the ball in the more skilled players’ hands.
Young, as a defender is a completely different ball game. This is where he shines and will be expected to impact the game when he becomes a professional, whether it be in the NBA, D-League or overseas. He is not the tallest guy, but his strength and length make it very hard for opposing players to back him down or get to the rim. He has quick feet and is an overall athlete. With these skills he does a great job of putting his body between the opposition and the rim so it shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that Patric Young is the reigning SEC defensive player of the year.
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Jabari Brown– Brown has one discernible skill, he can score. At Missouri he scored in a number of ways, whether it be catch and shoot, spot-up, off the dribble or attacking the rim. There is no question that Brown can score; the question is how he will translate to the NBA. He is only 6’4”, is not a great athlete, and hasn’t shown much ability as a facilitator. It’s because of these reasons that he fell out of the draft. As I said earlier, he’s not a great athlete, but he’s above average. He has nice feet and should be able to become a sufficient defender, if he is willing to put in the work and put forth more effort. One of the biggest concerns for many General Managers was Brown’s inability to facilitate, which will limit the 6’4” guard to the 2-guard spot. Obviously, that’s undersized, but I believe that his deficiency now is something that can improve and if he can, even to an average level, then he could become a very nice addition to the Mavericks roster.
Whether he becomes a good defender or figures out how to lead a team he will always be able to shoot. He has great technique and touch from all over the floor. A shooter that can stretch the floor is always welcome to a modern day NBA roster.
Deonte Burton– Burton is a score first, 6’1” point guard. Many will look at this as a negative, but the Nevada team he was on offered little in support so much of the offensive load was left up to Burton. His efficiency and shot selection was subpar, but again most of this had to do with the load he was expected to carry offensively. One of Burton’s best offensive tools is his ability to work out of the pick and roll, a Dallas Mavericks favorite; he also excels in transition and in isolation situations. He will, likely, see little isolation work if he were to make the Mavericks’ roster, but it’s nice to know it’s there and shows his talent. He has a very quick first step and sports a near 40 inch max vertical.
Burton’s offense greatly benefits from his ability to attack the basket and get to the charity stripe. It’s this ability to attack the rim and beat defenders off the dribble that shows his athletic ability and gives me hope that he will be able to develop the passing aspect of the point guard position when multiple help defenders collapse. He uses his athleticism to be a sufficient defender and his length, 6’7” wingspan, to be an exceptional shot blocker at the guard position. He played a lot of minutes at Nevada, so maybe his responsibility on the offensive end lead to less on the defensive side. If so, he could become a very good perimeter defender in the future.