Should the Dallas Mavericks keep or trade their first round pick?

Zion Williamson #1 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

It’s hypothetical season so today we discuss what the Dallas Mavericks should do if they get to keep their first round pick – keep it or trade it?

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Luka Doncic last season they conditionally sent their 2019 first round pick as compensation. The conditionality was based on where exactly the pick would be. If the pick fell in the top-5, Dallas keeps the pick. If it was outside the top-5, Atlanta gets the pick.

Finishing 33-49 this past season, Dallas entered their offseason in a three way tie with New Orleans, and Memphis. A random drawing last night put the Mavs last on the list, pushing the team down to No. 9 on the lottery list.

With a little better than a one-in-four chance of moving into the top-5, chances are the Mavs will be sending their pick to Atlanta. But what if they defy the odds and move into the top-5? Should they keep the pick or should they proactively send it to Atlanta to fulfill the owed debt?

Because if the Mavs get to keep their pick this summer, they will still owe the Hawks compensation. That compensation just gets kicked to next year. So if the Dallas Mavericks owe them evenatually no matter what, maybe they should consider sending pick this year even if they can technically keep it.

Why would they do that?

For starters this draft is weak. Outside of Zion Williamson there just isn’t much to get excited about in the top-5. Obviously if Dallas snags Zion, they are keeping him and never looking back. But that only has a 6 percent chance of coming to fruition, so it’s not overly realistic.

In 2022, the NBA will be trashing their one-and-done system that forces high schoolers to pretend to go to school. That means the 2022 will be an extra rich draft.

Without anyone exciting on the board, Dallas may choose a hard pass just based on talent. They could also opt to proactively forfeit the pick because of the compensation involved. A top-5 pick costs money and if Dallas has to pay a rookie who’s unlikely to contribute much their first season, they lose money to spend in free agency on players who can contribute now.

Dallas has just enough space to sign a max free agent this summer and round out their roster (a little tweaking is needed but it’s doable). Paying a rookie north of $5 million will greatly impact their ability to optimally fill out a roster next season.

Sure, there are no promises they can get a max guy anyway, but with Luka and Kristaps Porzingis here, the chances are better than ever before they can lure someone. Besides, this is a debt that eventually needs to be repaid anyway.

Finally, sending the pick now will position the Dallas Mavericks to be players in the 2022 NBA Draft. Why does that matter? In 2022, the NBA will be trashing their one-and-done system that forces high schoolers to pretend to go to school. That means the 2022 will be an extra rich draft.

By sending the pick to Atlanta now, the Mavs will get to keep that 2022 pick. That’s because teams can’t forfeit picks in consecutive years. Atlanta gets 2019, Dallas gets 2020, New York gets 2021 (Kristaps trade), and Dallas gets 2022.

Sport DFW is looking for lead Mavs writer. Apply below!

dark. Next. How Tim Hardaway fits long-term in Dallas

As you can see there are a ton of reasons Dallas shouldn’t keep their pick in the first round this season and only one reason they should – and his name is Zion. So basically, MFFL should look at this like having a 6 percent chance of adding a first rounder to the roster this summer.

  • Published on 04/16/2019 at 12:00 PM
  • Last updated at 04/16/2019 at 08:06 AM