The Dallas Mavericks enter the offseason armed with their highest draft pick in years. Should they keep it?
The Dallas Mavericks are embarking on quite the important offseason this summer. Do they try to build a contender for what will likely be Dirk Nowitzki’s final season or do they think more long-term? The answer to that question will go a long way into deciding what they do in coming weeks and months.
As things stand now, the Dallas Mavericks are slated to select No. 9 overall in the upcoming draft. While nine is unlikely to net them a blue-chip super star, it’s the best pick they’ve had in some time and could realistically translate to a cornerstone player down the road. The only problem is there’s no “down the road” for Dirk.
The soon-to-be 39-year old, Dirk Nowitzki, is playing year-to-year these days. No one, not even Dirk, knows when his brilliant career will end. But we all know the day is nigh. Mark Cuban has all but assured his future Hall of Famer that the Mavs will continue to trot out a competitive team as long as #41 is in the house. As such, swinging for the fences and adding ready-now players has been the annual offseason tradition of the Dallas Mavericks.
But things could change this summer. No longer armed with money to facilitate unrealistic free agent dreams, the Dallas Mavericks must turn their attention to youth and development. Within the past year they have noticeably taken steps to get younger and more athletic. They’ve primarily done so by hitting the figurative lottery with Nerlens Noel and Yogi Ferrell.
The question is do they continue down this path? The path that made the future finally appear bright but also caused them to miss the playoffs? Or do they alter course and make one last run at the postseason, possibly forgoing higher-end prospects in exchange for ready-now talent?
Trading the pick
The idea has been floating around that the Dallas Mavericks may be interested in trading their lottery pick this summer in exchange for already established players. One player Eddie Sefko at DMN mentions often is Minnesota point guard, Ricky Rubio.
Ricky Rubio is admittedly someone I’ve been high on for a while. At 26, he’s ready to contribute now and still in his physical prime. He’s not a superstar but he averages over 9 assists and 11 points per game at a position of need for the Mavs. It’s highly unlikely the Mavs could add someone via the draft that could deliver Rubio’s stat line this coming season.
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Building the right way
It’s always good business to add the best player available to your roster. If you end up with too many great players at the same position then you work it out after the fact. Considering the Mavs don’t have any great players these days, this really shouldn’t be a problem.
But looking at the incoming talent in the 2017 NBA Draft, it’s easy to see that many of the top players available for the Mavs will take a little time to develop. Particularly 18-year-old French guard, Frank Ntilikina. It’s doubtful anyone the Mavs add in the draft will help Dirk Nowitzki much.
It would be wise to trade for Ricky Rubio for two reasons:
- I have no idea how good Donnie Nelson and his staff are at identifying talent high in the draft.
- It’s a flip of the coin as whether anyone the Mavs pick at No. 9 will ever post the numbers Rubio consistently posts.
With that said, the Mavs need to keep the long-term health of the Mavs in mind and cannot pass on high-potential players just for the sake of squeezing into the playoffs one last time for Dirk.
The Dallas Mavericks have reached a fork in the road and what they decide will likely have major long-term consequences on the franchise. They can’t trade the pick because they’re impatient but must do it only if it’s the best move given the players available on the board.