No real rhyme or reason, but just going to start spilling some recent thoughts I've had which may or may not include Deron Williams
(SPOILER ALERT: there's some Williams stuff. Also, sorry for the lame headline.)
- As already reported by multiple outlets, Williams has apparently narrowed his choices to Dallas and Brooklyn. Not surprising at all. But Matt Moore's Twitter debate with some Nets/Mavs fans about why Dallas is a better organization was really interesting/funny/soul crushing. (It was on Sunday, so just scroll down Moore's timeline for about 8+ hours.) Williams has constantly said he wants to go where he can win and the Mavericks have been the class of the NBA in that department since 2000. Only one ring, yes, but 11 50-win seasons, two Finals appearances and an NBA record for consecutive sellouts. And yes, Cuban did this to an organization that was recognized as the worst franchise of the 1990s by Sports Illustrated (not just the NBA, people. ALL OF SPORTS. THEY WERE REALLY BAD.) Meanwhile, the Nets had a nice serge to start the 2000s before becoming lottery bound fodder and one of the worst NBA teams since 2007. There's no debate: Dallas is head and shoulders the better organization. It might not matter, but if Williams sticks with the Nets, he isn't doing it because he wants to win. Let's just set that straight. (This isn't a slight to Nets fans, as the move to Brooklyn obviously offers lots and there's an owner that seemingly wants to turn things around.)
- We posted a poll earlier today, but I'll go ahead and throw my two cents in on Jared Sullinger, even though you didn't ask: I'm not a big fan of him in Dallas. Sullinger is probably the most sure, ready-to-contribute prospect in this draft other than Tyler Zeller or Anthony Davis. He'll work hard, he can score in the post and rebound...unfortunately it's at a position that Dirk Nowitzki plays. I understand some mocks claiming the Mavericks have to "look toward their future" and make this pick if Sullinger falls, but I'm not sure it's that simple. Dirk is 34-years-old and looks to have about three to four good years left in him (I'm not ready to believe this insane lockout, post championship season is really indicative of any Dirk decline.) At the very least, he'll offer better production than Sullinger for that time and be a starter over him. With Brandan Wright coming back and Dallas quest to get another star player to go with Dirk (and eventually succeed him) I'm not sure there's a place for Sullinger. Would he have a valuable role off the bench or when Dirk needs to take a game off? Absolutely. But the Mavericks have so many other holes on the wing and at the center spot that it'd seem like a waste to take Sullinger. Love the player, hate the back problem stories, think he'll be productive if healthy, but just not in Dallas.
- The Hornets will apparently match any offer for restricted free agent Eric Gordon, thus ending my fantastical dream about him in a Dallas uniform. When healthy, Gordon fixes over half of the Mavericks existing problems (lack of perimeter scoring, penetration and production from the two guard spot) but it's a no-brainer for New Orleans with a new owner. Pairing Anthony Davis with Gordon and whoever they pick at No. 10 is a fantastic start to a young core. Whether the Hornets pick a point guard or a small forward, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Hornets grasping an 8th seed in a year or so, following OKC's path to success.
- Finally some names are starting to leak out about who Dallas is interested in/working out before the draft. The latest name is Will Barton, the shooting guard out of Memphis. I don't know much about Barton's game but here's what Sam Amik from SI.com has to say, calling Barton one of his five sleepers:
He averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 50.9 percent overall and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc. His lack of strength is a concern for some teams, although Kevin Durant is the latest poster boy to show that not being able to complete any bench press reps at 185 pounds at the predraft combine (as both he and Barton failed to do) is hardly relevant to the game.
- Also, Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram caught up with Ryan Blake, senior director of NBA scouting operations and he said the Mavericks could be interested in Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross, Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie, St. John's small forward Moe Harkless, Illinois center Meyers Leonard and North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall. I'm not big on Marshall, don't know much about Moultrie or Harkless and am intrigued/worried about Leonard (I clearly watch a lot of college basketball.) I did get a chance to see Ross play in person in Seattle, and I must say, he's NBA ready. I was there covering the UT-Arlington basketball team and the UTA head coach remarked on how NBA-ready he was. Take that for what you will. He could also be Maurice Ager 2.0. The story also links Perry Jones and Quincy Miller from Baylor, both players I could see fit.