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Speculation Season

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One of the best things about being a writer for this site is our email chains. They are often bizarre and funny. They also tend to be very educational. It's so easy to live in a fan bubble where I'm convinced that my line of thinking around a particular topic is the only way of looking at something. Then Alan, Andy, Josh, one of the Tims, Jonathan, or Lisa puts out a thought which really forces me to reconsider whatever I thought I knew.

One of the things I'm most excited about, now that we've had time to lick our wounds, is the draft and the ensuing off season. So much is up in the air and despite some limitations, Dallas has so many options it's hard to know where to begin. I, for one, love this kind of reckless speculation. As the summer marches on, some ideas will take root and we'll start to see the same strategies promoted in a variety of places. I urge everyone to not get to attached to any one plan because no matter what happens, I can guarantee we won't see it coming.

With that said, I want to give some thoughts on some recent pieces involving potential Dallas picks. This morning, ESPN's Chad Ford posted a story about Dario Saric, the consensus top European in the draft who should be available when Dallas selects a player. The title alone, "Dario Saric - The Next Magic Johnson" is enough to raise an eye brow...

"I think he is one of the three or four top talents in this draft," said a GM.

An NBA scout said Saric would stack up well with the best U.S. college players.

"If he played college ball this year, he would've been one of the top five players in America," said the scout. "He was in a bad situation there [Croatia]. His talent didn't go away."

The skinny forward may have all the talent in the world, but I'm unsure how a player like Saric fits into the plans of Dallas for 2013-2014. Ford is rather insistent that Dallas considers Saric a top prospect on their board at the moment, considering their number 13 draft spot. In fact, he has him as his number 12 over all prospect on his "Big Board"

Whether Saric can reach his potential is the key. While at times he can look brilliant, other times he struggles. He's been excellent in the recent Croatian playoffs, averaging 15.1 points on 67 percent shooting to go with 7.4 rebounds. While the Mavericks look like the most obvious choice for him in the lottery, don't count out the Pelicans or 76ers as lottery destinations.

Obviously, we're far off from the draft and lots of things can and will change. This is something I'd consider mildly alarming at the moment.

Much more alarming is this post from Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

They don't want to use the 13th overall pick, assuming they don't luck out in the lottery, on a project to develop during Dirk Nowitzki's golden years. They need a player who can be plugged into the rotation right away.

I suggest reading the whole thing if you haven't, because it takes mainly about how Dallas is looking for an established player to fit in right away if they can't luck out with a wildly talented prospect at 13. The players mentioned are, to say the least, unappealing. As we saw from Jae Crowder and Bernard James this year, no rookie, no matter how seasoned as a college player, is ready to fit in right away on a veteran team with high expectations.

At this point, a trade may be the most likely option. Of course, 13 is not a particularly appealing draft pick. At that point in the draft most teams are simply looking for a rotation player, so any sort of returned value is probably marginal.

We're going to have much to talk about in the coming weeks and months. I'm currently not married to any idea or plan (real plan, I mean. I'd love to get CP3 or Dwight, but as of now I don't consider those real options. I can't get my hopes up again).

What I am down for though, is rampant speculation. Between the draft and free agency, things are going to get really, really interesting.