NBA Draft Lottery: Zion Williamson Impact on the Dallas Mavericks

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Zion Williamson . (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 31: Zion Williamson . (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight and if a team like the Dallas Mavericks can win the top pick and add Zion Williamson, big things will be in store…

The day of reckoning has arrived. Select NBA teams like the Dallas Mavericks meet their fate and are either either rewarded or punished for being terrible at basketball. As a way to dissuade franchises from being purposely bad, the NBA developed a lottery system.

The NBA Draft Lottery is an annual event which determines the order of the draft. Being the worst team in the NBA helps a team’s chances in the draft but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll get the top pick.

In fact, the worst team in the NBA, the New York Knicks, only have a 14% chance of scoring that top pick. So while they have the best chances of all teams, the odds are still severely against them. Because of this lottery system, the Dallas Mavericks, who were merely the ninth-worst team (after tiebreakers), have a six percent chance of scoring the top selection.

Why does the top pick matter so much?

Two words: Zion Williamson. Essentially all basketball fans are aware, Zion Williamson is best prospect to come out since LeBron James.

The 2019 Draft, which is particularly starved for elite talent, sees a significant drop-off from Slot 1 to Slot 2. For many teams, this lottery only has one winner and everyone else is just a different degrees of loser.

Things can fall three ways for the Dallas Mavericks:

  1. They fall in line with the odds (74% chance) and get a pick outside of the top-4, forgoing the pick to Atlanta.
  2. They get a pick between 2-4, allowing them to keep their first round pick (roughly 20%)
  3. They defy all odds and snag the top pick which will undeniably be Zion (6%).

Before the ping pong balls are drawn and dreams of Zion vaporize, let’s a take a quick moment to recognize what Zion Williamson would mean for the Dallas Mavericks:

Immediate contender

With three bona fide superstars, the Dallas Mavericks would be an immediate contender. Rick Carlisle would be equipped with a flexible positionless core that would exploit opponents and dictate match-ups.

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Best Young Team in NBA

The Dallas Mavericks already two of the most promising under-25’s  in the league with Kristaps and Luka, adding Zion would make them the equivalent of that old Oklahoma City team that boasted Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The only difference is the Mavs trio would all complement each other’s game.

A Desirable Destination

You have to be a contender with upside or be positioned close to the sea in order to draw the top players in free agency. Thank the NBA’s price controls for that:

Related Story. Why Price Controls and Limits on Max Deals hurt teams like the Mavs. light

Adding another young superstar like Zion would make Dallas the place to be for the NBA’s elite. With Luka and Zion both playing under their rookie deals, Dallas can afford to pay an elite max player. And that Max player would get to claim responsibility for flipping the fortunes of a lottery team into a contender (rather than being criticized for joining a team that was already a contender).

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The Dallas Mavericks only have a six percent chance of winning the lottery tonight and claiming Zion Williamson in the draft, but that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming what could be…if only the Mavs could defy the odds…

  • Published on 05/14/2019 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 05/14/2019 at 11:32 AM