I feel as if I've quadrupled my NBA Draft knowledge in the past couple of days. I watched a bit of college basketball and paid some attention to draft stuff after the Finals, but this week, the draft news has kinda gone crazy. Even if I hadn't tried, I think I'd be versed in what's going on come Thursday night, there's been that much coverage. Honestly, there been way too much to process, so I'm just going to spout off some basic opinions I've got, some Mavericks related and some more general, while skipping the boring parts. Let's go.
Should the Mavericks be drafting for now or the future?
Here's a very important question headed into Thursday. The Mavericks have been reloading and reloading for years, trying to find that right fit of capable players to get a ring while Dirk was still in his prime. Now that they've finally done that, do the Mavericks draft for their one or two more runs that Dirk has left as a superstar, or do they say that they've accomplished their goal, and need to start thinking for the post-Dirk era (obviously still trying for another championship, but not solely for one anymore)?
I'd start by saying either option works, and if there is a player who gets to the Mavericks who they can't pass up, he should be picked no matter what continent he'll play in next year. However, if there's a choice, I would argue that the here-and-now is more important. The Heat, Thunder, and possibly Bulls are young teams who look as if they could become this decade's dynasties. However, none of them have gone there yet, and the Mavericks should capitalize on their championship-capable core while they have it, probably even better with Caron Butler and a helpful Roddy B.
If the Mavericks try to refuel and acquire young guys to help five years now, they might have a great cast of supporting players. However, they have no guarantee of a superstar. The Mavericks' championship was team orientated, but it also required superstar Dirk. The Mavericks know they will have that superstar that is required to have success, and so while they have him they should utilize him. The future is too cloudy to bet on that.
So which position needs an immediate impact?
Well, the Mavericks won the championship last year. They have their weaknesses, but its different from the Cavaliers, who literally who draft a player at any position and still be filling a need. The two positions that stand out are backup PG and backup PF. At PG, it seems very possible that JJB may get overpaid because of his playoff performances, and the right choice if that happens is to let him go. That leaves Roddy B and Dominique Jones backing up Jason Kidd, who clearly needs to be rested, a lot. Neither of those guys are really locks to give productive minutes, at least not at that spot. Getting another PG prospect will also increase the chances of the Mavericks hitting on a Jason Kidd replacement down the road.
The backup PF will be important so that Dirk can get more rest. Cardinal was a scrappy, usable player, but not a player that could be used all 82 games. Marion did a solid job at the four, but he's a small forward. Getting a ready to contribute player at the 4 would allow Carlisle to pick and choose the spots he wants to go small and put Marion at the 4 and maybe not have quite as many nightmares about taking Dirk out of a game.
I said this above, but if you're like me, you probably just skimmed past it. There's a lot of Mavericks stuff here, but its more of a ramble about anything draft related, so there will be some non-Mavs stuff in here.
Now to Jimmer. I'm proud to say I knew who he was before Jimmer-Mania started. All knew he was a white guy who scored a lot who went to that Mormon school, but I did know that his junior year.
Jimmer-Mania made me love the guy, though. He was fun to watch, and similar enough that I could learn a couple things to help my basketball game. The more I watched him, the more I became sure that the kid could definitely make it in the NBA. He didn't have Adam Morrison's size, so he actually had to work to create a shot, and he would succeed over and over...even though the other team's entire defensive gameplan centered around him. He'll be taking on challenges of tougher defenders and quicker gameplay, but he'll be shedding the inferior teammates and the sole focus of defenses. He won't ever be a superstar, but maybe a borderline All-Star in his prime, and at least a capable player in some role for some team.
No Love For Dukies
Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler both might slip out of the first round. I understand why, but its a bit of a shame that people don't care whether a player was a winner in college, but rather his standing vertical jump. It has to be that way, but its still a shame.
Anyway, Nolan Smith is interesting because I view him as a potential pick for the Mavericks. Most view him as a point guard, and if the Mavericks feel the same way, then Smith could fill into that backup PG slot immediately. He's a four-year college senior at one of the most prestigious schools in the country; its doubtful that there will be any other draftees that have a easier transition than he does. Smith's average athleticism and lack of penetration limit high upside, but then again, the Mavericks already have a view point guard prospects who they think have very high upside. Drafting Smith because they know what he'll be, and when he will be it (basically now) should not be plan A for the Mavericks, but is a very solid fallback option.
Draft Day Trade Rumors
Have to get into these. As of last night (so this definitely may not be up-to-date; don't sue me because I have no money), the two big rumors is Nash for the Timberwolves' #2 pick, and Tony Parker for the Raptors' or Kings' pick (#5 and #7 respectively). I've also seen stuff about Pau Gasol, but that strikes me as headline-making at its finest, not really based on fact. I could be dead wrong, but if I were me (and I am), I would focus on the first two.
Nash to Timberwolves makes no sense because the Timberwolves already have a billion point guards. But actually, that might be why it makes sense. Much like Jason Kidd has tutored JJB and Roddy, I wonder if Nash is being brought over to be a leader and mentor to all these young guards that Minnesota owns. Rubio is rumored to be headed over; who better for him to learn from than Steve Nash!? Just look at the hair similarities, for starters!
Parker gone? Hmm. I'd hate to see an over-the-hill Spurs team retool just like that, and we know they never miss with draft picks. As most draft day (or day before, in this case) rumors go, it won't happen, but I certainly have mixed feelings. I won't miss Parker's layup line against our defense, at least (although Chandler would say that's a thing of the past).
A few more Maverick-related names
PF Justin Harper. Here's a college senior who fits my criteria of making an impact now. He's a very good shooter with NBA 3-point range, fills a need, and overall seems interesting. Probably needs to get more physical, but he's got the size to play the 4 while still remaining very fluid. He's like a less muscular Brandon Bass, with more range on his shot. I find him very interesting.
SF Davis Bertans. 18 year old from Europe, and a knock down shooter. I highly doubt he'd be with the Mavericks this year if drafted, and considering his age, I'd call that a good thing. Even the D-League might be an overwhelming experience. I'll be 18 this year, and I know I couldn't handle going to Europe (analogy since I live in the States) for an 82 games season.
PF Kenneth Faried and PF Markieff Morris. Neither will get to the Mavericks, but if they somehow do, don't even hesitate. Even with Chandler and Haywood, we've seen the Mavericks really struggle inside, be it defense or defensive rebound. Here's two guys whose mindsets are focused on the defensive end, a rare thing to find.
"PG" Josh Selby. I've seen him going in the second round, and I've seen him as a draft sleeper. I think that he's a very talented player, and though he'll take some work, could be turned into a very nice player. I also think he might be too similar to Roddy B, and there are already enough undersized two guards on our team. G Iman Shumpert also falls into this category, although it sounds as if his stock has skyrocketted and he's a mid-first rounder. Long gone by pick #26.