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Draft Round Table: Surveying the Aftermath

After a wild and entertaining draft, team Moneyball discuss the results

Mike Stobe

1) What do you think of Shane Larkin as a player?

Andy: Well, my opinion on college sports is as good as my opinion on the GDP of Mongolia, but from what I hear he's 5' 3" with a lot of heart so I've got some doubts. If you are happy that the Mavs' highest draft pick in years probably resulted in the next JJ Barea, then you're happy with this. Eh.

Josh: I think he knows how to play basketball, which is sadly a huge upgrade over recent Mavs picks. After Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and Jared Cunningham, the pick of Larkin is actually a big relief. Those previous three draft picks all had huge developmental warts: Roddy was a raw, international talent that needed a lot of seasoning. Jones had giant holes in his game that were always going to be hard to overcome and the same goes to Cunningham. With Larkin, we at least know he can do basketball things: he can shoot, score and make plays in the pick and roll. Honestly, that's good enough for me. Larkin might not have the highest of ceilings but he refreshingly already has a nice skill set to contribute in the NBA.

Ian: I think he'll probably have more success as a rookie than Jones and Cunningham will have in maybe any season. But those guys were late first round picks, and that's setting the bar really, really low. I know Larkin appears on paper to be a fundamentally sound guy, but I still think this is the third time in a row where the Mavstook a guy with a major wart. For Jared and Dojo, it was the shot, and for Larkin, it's the short. Look at it this way: D.J. Augustin was better offensively coming out of college than Larkin. Significantly so. And if he has a few more seasons like his last one, he'll be out of the league pretty soon.

"With Larkin, we at least know he can do basketball things" -Josh

Kirk: I have no real opinion on Shane Larkin as a player. I know Lisa is happy to get him so to see a fellow fan happy at a draft pick is a welcome change.

2) What do you think of Shane Larkin as a fit for the Mavs?

Tim Cato: Seeing how the Mavericks don't have a single point guard under contract, he definitely fits a need. Fit and need are slightly different, but I do believe Larkin and Dirk can coexist quite favorably.

Ian: If he's a cheap backup, that's fine. If he means Nick Calathes gets traded, then my soul will die a little bit, but whatever. The easy comparison to make is that Dallas wants Larkin to be another J.J. Barea (though the first one drove me crazy), and if they get that, it's not the worst return. However, I reiterate my caution in assuming he'll just be that guy. I think players like Barea have such enormous obstacles to overcome, that it takes a pretty special dude to make it work. There's no way to measure if Larkin has the guts and mental toughness Barea did. It's not a trait any guy is going to possess, simply because he's small and in the NBA.

Josh: Ideally, he'd be a great third guard, coming off the bench and terrorizing other teams' weaker back up guards. Everyone is comparing him to J.J. Barea, but Barea was a nobody when the Mavs signed him: Larkin is a proven talent that scouts love. He can work the pick and roll and shoot from deep, two huge things a guard needs to be able to do to exist in a Dirk-centric world. Can he be the devilish-penetrator that Barea was? That will be the key. Hopefully the Mavs will have a more veteran solution for the starting guard, because Larkin could thrive in a reserve role.

3) Should the Mavs have traded down? Was it worth getting rid of Cunningham, possibility of Schroeder or Shabazz?

Kirk: This is basically a question of "Do you agree with the maverick off season strategy since 2011" and I am a long time detractor. So within the framework Dallas has established, it seems they did a good of a job as possible. Whether that's conducive to the team not being crappy anymore is harder to tell. I'm ecstatic they got rid of Cunningham; if a guy can't get minutes on a team as awkward as last year's squad, he's probably not a very good basketball player. Of course, it seems everyone in the world knew Cunningham wasn't a great fit last year except the Mavericks.

"If Ricky Ledo turns out to be a stud, then maybe I'll say trading back was OK" -Ian

Andy: Well, if you take a real look at this the Mavs have so far traded down three spots for the right to give Atlanta their 44nd pick and Jared Cunningham. Which is strange to say the least, since usually you trade things to do better rather than worse. But, in a way, getting rid of Jared Cunningham is better, I guess.

Ian: If Ricky Ledo turns out to be a stud, then maybe I'll say trading back was OK. Then again, Dallas had the 44th pick, so Ledo only needed to drop one more spot for Dallas to have taken him either way. So, yeah, I think it was a bad move. If Dallas really thought Larkin was better than the guys who went between 13 and 17, that would be a different story. But I don't think that's true. Just take the best guy on your board. All the savings they accomplished appear, from my vantage point, to be moves they could have made at a later point, when they really knew where they stood with Dwight.

Tim Cato: Yes, the Mavericks played it right. Donnie confirmed after the draft that they would have taken one of the Burke/Carter-Williams/McCollum trio if they had been present at 13. They were all gone, so they moved down while still selecting their number four point guard (presumably, since they passed on Schoerder at both 13 and 16).

4) What do you think this says for the Mavs' offseason plans?

Josh: Dwight Howard or bust. The Mavericks have used the last three drafts to save cash rather than prioritize grabbing the best available talent. That's all been to grab as much salary cap for this summer, the summer of Dwight. Many are skeptical of Dwight's maturity and health, but there are few centers like him in the league and even in his weakened state in LA last year he was still putting up better numbers than Tyson Chandler. With news spreading that Dwight is seriously considering leaving LA, the Mavericks have to continue the plan they initiated back in 2011 -- find the next star after Dirk.

Kirk: The largest issue with the Maverick off season plan is that they didn't seem to grasp just how crippling it is to be at the mercy of the decision making of other teams and players. In all honesty, Dallas has dont a GREAT job executing their plan. The problem is that the plan has always had a number of large fatal flaws that the front office glosses over.

Andy: Sticking to the plan of going for a max guy, which is probably a mistake, but in their defense once the PGs they were interested in were gone, they did about as well as they could do.

Tim Cato: I don't think this necessarily indicates that it's "Dwight Howard or bust" like some people are thinking. Regardless of Dwight's decision, the Mavericks needed to get a young point guard in here, and we still don't know the status on Calathes.

"The largest issue with the Maverick off season plan is that they didn't seem to grasp just how crippling it is to be at the mercy of the decision making of other teams and players." -Kirk

5.) Do you think draft day was a success?

Josh: Yes. The Mavs had a very clear plan: hope an elite point guard falls to 13 or trade back, save salary and pick up a useful player. Dallas did that by grabbing Larkin, who unlike Cunningham or Jones, should be able to find some consistent minutes in the rotation. They also jumped into the second round and grabbed an ultimate high-reward, low-risk player in Ricky Ledo. I don't know much about Ledo, but by all accounts he was a super-stud in high school, had some issues that made him sit out his freshman year and entered the draft too early. I've heard that if Ledo stayed and put up a productive sophomore season, he'd be a lottery pick in 2014's loaded draft. He's a true shooting guard all the way around. I'm sad that MCW or Burke couldn't fall to the Mavs after getting oh so very close, but that's not the Mavs fault. They regrouped nicely and executed their plan. Now on the free agency...

Kirk: Sure, but not because it was super awesome. We've lapsed into the soft bigotry of low expectations by being thrilled with the fact that Dallas didn't completely crap the bed. Larkin might be fun and Leto is all reward with little risk. We drafted guys who can't harm the team. It's fine if they don't work out, but that I'm not livid this morning is a step in the right direction. I haven't felt good about a Dallas draft since 2004 though, for what it's worth.

Tim Cato: The Mavericks executed their plan and I'd imagine that, in their eyes, it was a successful draft. I wouldn't personally call the draft successful, but by no fault of their own. I would have liked to seen one of the "first tier" point guards in a Mavericks uniform, and missing out on them is not Donnie's or Cuban's fault.