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MMB Staff discusses the draft, and how Dallas might screw it up.

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Howard? Paul? Schroeder? Saric? Will the Mavericks draft for need or for money/space? The staff here discusses it.


This tweet from Chad Ford sparked one of our famous MMB email chains, so I've condensed it into a post for you all to enjoy. Some really good basketball minds reside here, y'all.

Kirk Henderson: Why is he talking Howard and literally everyone else is talking CP3?

Alan Smithee: I think there are at least a few people who prefer Dwight Howard. Not me, because I think Chris Paul is a god, but there are people out there. I know one of the ESPN radio programs had Chuck Cooperstein on for a back-and-forth and he's firmly in the Howard corner.

Ford probably also looks at the roster and doesn't appreciate the disconnect between Collison's production and how out of favor he fell for the coaching staff (and fans).

Jonathan Tjarks: Collison has to been seen to be believed. I certainly didn't appreciate his flaws till I saw him every night. Count me as someone who would take Howard over Paul. Always go with the big man first. It's much easier to find a PG down the road.

Alan: I'll say this: all the excellent work from Jonathan, etc. has me really intrigued about Dennis Schroeder. I just wish I believed that Dallas would be willing to take a 19 year old kid and play him. Maybe they platoon him with someone like Calderon, who is big enough to even play with Schroeder.

Jonathan: (Mike) Fisher has had the Mavs really high on Saric for awhile. Saric passes the eye test when you watch him play, but then you go and look at his career shooting percentages. I don't think he's a good enough athlete to where he can live in the paint in the NBA.

Alan: Yeah, the iffy athlete + iffy jumpshot combination scares me. But I do like the point skills from a wing like that. If the draft-and-stash approach is what's coming, it's going to take something miraculous to competently fill both point guard and center this offseason.

Andrew Tobolowsky: It's hard being an idiot about all this stuff, but just as a logical individual--to the extent that I am---it just SEEMS like they don't really like imagining that their failure to get ANYBODY in the draft in a decade is a matter of approach. I agree with everyone that it's hard to get value as low as they usually pick, and obviously even as high as they're picking this year in a pretty weak draft it's hard, but why is it point skills from a wing instead of point skills from a point, why is it shooting ability from a big rather than being big ability for a big---why is it always combo guards. You know? Wouldn't, at some point, whether or not you thought there was much you could do to change something, at least stop getting cute?

Obviously, Schroeder or Saric probably saves them the this-year-cap-space problem, and I think I'd be pretty happy about Schroeder. But...

Alan: A lot of what you say is true, and I agree with, and makes absolute sense (at least to me).

I do think that if you really examine their ledger, saying they didn't get anybody in the draft, while for the most part true, is not the whole story. They most likely see the draft as one of many tools, not a tally of who "won" by picking a keeper rather than a bust. Their '07 pick was used to get Dampier, and the '08 pick Kidd. That's how they'll look at it. Not "well we lost that pick", but "we used this asset to help get a veteran".

Of course, getting Kidd and Dampier is one thing, but having no pick in '05 because you just had to have Pavel Podkolzin the previous year is another.

And as much as I want to convince myself of something else, I think the Jared Cunningham pick was about saving money for Deron more than anything else.

Honestly, at some point, I feel like they're bound to pick somebody OK just by accident.

Andrew: That's a good point. That's one thing I was thinking when the Thunder turned out to have the twelfth pick--lots more ways to be good at the draft than drafting good players.

Alan: I'll say this, though- having watched a fair number of clips of Saric, I could see him becoming at least a passable shooter. The form is nice, the confidence is there, and all accounts are that he's been on fire lately. Now, athletically, I don't know if he can stay at the 3, but if he does, I definitely see some Turkoglu to him. The fact that so many people talk about his BBIQ definitely paints him a Dallas pick. I know they tend to value that over other more tangible traits sometimes.

Also going back to Andy's point about why Dallas is always linked to guys who can do X but not Y, there are teachable attributes and non-teachable ones. If you're smart, you're always going to look first at the latter. Things like size, athleticism, BBIQ.

Guys that already can shoot or play point or have a polished post game are nice, but they tend to be closer to a finished product. Without one of those three qualities mentionef above they aren't likely to get better or be starter quality if they reach their ceiling. If they do have a few of those three and the polish, generally they're top 5 or at worst top 10 picks.

I'll admit, I thought they would be looking to use this pick to get someone who could help right away, whether it be a trade for someone like Eric Bledsoe or taking a lower ceiling guy like Deng or McCollum.

If that's not the case, and they're targeting someone like Saric to stash, that shows encouraging progress in their utilizing a longterm asset management approach. I like it. Now just bring over Calathes and I'll be happy.

Andrew: One of the questions I've always had is along these teachable skills lines---for example the idea that you can just "learn" a jumpshot. Obviously, there are success stories, but aren't there also a lot of failures? What about a guy like Blake Griffin who supposedly was always going to learn it, but shot under 40% everywhere around the basket, or somebody like Dominique Jones in the Mavericks case. Is the fact that some players do add skills to their repertoire unfairly prejudicing us to believe that it's universally possible?

Jonathan:That's the $1 million question when it comes to evaluating so many of these players. How much can shooting be learned at the professional level? One thing I wonder is that by the time you're in your mid-20's, you have so much muscle memory that's hard to unlearn. For every Jason Kidd, there are so many guys who never do pick up the J.

The Spurs seem to do a really good job with Chip Engelland, but if you look around the league, it's really hit or miss as to guys who pick up a jumper.

One thing I wonder is how much of it is purely shot selection. Kawhi Leonard is a guy whose shot much better in the pros, but how much of that is a function of his role in the Spurs offense? At San Diego State, he was always the guy creating shots off the dribble at the end of the clock, while he takes the majority of his 3's in SA on open looks from the corner.

Kirk: These are fun questions - what I think the mavs analysts do poorly is judge how a player works within a team concept. We keep taking guys who might have a particular skill, but with zero idea of whether they can play basketball with other people. I know a lot of it is the AAU culture, but nothing vexes me more than when I see a guy like Jae Crowder stand around the line instead of cutting and moving.

Alan: Blake Griffin is still young enough to learn that jumper, and I'll say that even if he's not great from there by any means, he does look better than at OU. Of course, your point is still valid. Really, it's got to be a case by case basis. With Saric, the size and smarts make me think the shooting touch won't need to be extraordinary for hin to be a rotation guy. I'm much more concerned about which position he guards. Which isn't to say he can't guard anyone, just that I haven't seen him enough to know.