Another week, another set of mock drafts. The 2015 NBA draft is just 12 days away, which means the mockers are breaking out the "dark horse" picks. It's always interesting to observe which players move up and down on these things. You wonder how much of that is based on genuine information, or just boredom.
The Dallas Mavericks enter an uncertain offseason with many free agents and one big name that has been already ruled "gone," that being point guard Rajon Rondo. Meanwhile, the draft pool features quantity -- if not also quality -- there, with most pundits expecting either six or seven players to be taken at that position. Predictably, this has made names like Tyus Jones and Jerian Grant extremely popular choices, at least to this point(...guard).
Would that trend continue, or will we start to see some variety emerge? Let's find out.
The Mavericks seem like a team in transition. The Rajon Rondo experiment was a spectacular failure, Monta Ellis is likely to head to free agency and Dirk Nowitzki is set to turn 37 years old. The Mavericks need a young talent infusion in the worst way, and it starts with finally hitting on a pick in the draft. If Duke's Tyus Jones is available here, he has the makeup to give Dallas its first keeper in the draft since .... yeah, it's been a while.
Jones has aced every test he's ever had. He was a high school All-American, a freshman starter at arguably the most prestigious program in the country and the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament after leading the Blue Devils to a national title. He doesn't have elite size or athleticism, but he just gets the job done. Don't count him out at this level just yet.
Jones is a bit of a polarizing guy. Some love him. Others, like me, are skeptical. Jones has worked out for Dallas, and he's an intelligent player with skill and prestige. At the risk of sounding rude, I really hope another team is the one to take a chance on Jones. With Devin Harris (and possibly Raymond Felton) under contract, and J.J. Barea and Petteri Koponen strong candidates to be with the team as well, the Mavericks don't have to take a point guard simply because one is there.
Chad Ford (ESPN Insider): Jerian Grant, PG/SG, Notre Dame
The Mavs have a huge need at point guard this summer. True, Raymond Felton has picked up his option, but Rajon Rondo is likely leaving and J.J. Barea is a free agent. While the Mavs, as a playoff contender, likely won't be happy with starting a rookie PG, they will need depth and after four years at Notre Dame, Grant is very capable of stepping in and contributing right away. He's one of the two or three best pick-and-roll guards in the draft and his ability to play multiple positions makes him doubly valuable.
Grant's draft stock seems to be in the 14-25 range, so certainly a possibility for Dallas at no. 21. What's really encouraging about Ford's mock is that he immediately after Grant he has Delon Wright, R.J Hunter, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Justin Anderson going 22-25. There's a lot of interesting wing talent in that group, and several of those guys just worked out for Dallas. Grant isn't necessarily my favorite, but he makes sense a the type of guy to be mocked here. Ford astutely notes Grant's success in pick and roll, and Grant has the size to play in the multi-PG lineups Carlisle famously likes.
Jeff Goodman (ESPN insider): Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
The Mavs need backcourt help, especially with Rajon Rondo gone and plenty of uncertainty whether Monta Ellis comes back. Vaughn is a prolific wing scorer who put up big numbers last season at UNLV and could help fill the void if Ellis leaves.
Yikes. Danny Webster will have some forthcoming analysis of Vaughn; he covered UNLV and saw Vaughn a lot firsthand. Vaughn has scoring chops, to be sure, but there's a lot of bad tape on him, mostly of chucking ugly shots while open teammates shook their heads in disgust. He also was an indifferent defender. Does that sound like the type of guy Rick Carlisle usually plays? Say what you will about Monta, but he could at least drive and find the open man. Despite this, Vaughn does appear to be gaining steam as a prospect. He's very young, and produced as a freshman.
That Rajon Rondo experiment sure didn’t work out. Will the Mavericks take a young point guard here? There are plenty of options available in this draft. Payne could go as high as the lottery, though I won’t be sold on him until he fills out his too-skinny body. Still, he can score, pass and run a team.
It's been well documented that Payne is a major riser on draft boards right now, so to see him at no. 21 is surprising. Crazy stuff can happen on draft night, but I suspect Payne won't last this far. Indiana at 11 and OKC at 14 make a lot of sense for the mid-major star, but if he did somehow get to Dallas it would certainly be an intriguing match. He excites with a strong blend of shooting, athleticism, and passing skill.
The Mavericks are point guard shopping (again) and Jones is one of the best prospects. Jones isn’t especially big or athletic but he’s an intelligent playmaker—a quality Rick Carlisle would love to cultivate.
Obviously, Jones is a popular pick for Dallas.
Dekker is an interesting guy, who seems to be a little all over the place in mocks lately. I don't know how he would really fit next to Chandler Parsons, but there is value in getting a player like that in the 20s. He's athletic, versatile, and if his shooting continues to improve I think he has borderline All-Star potential. Rounding out CBS's trio of mockers is a pair of point guards, already discussed.
With so many needs across their roster, the Mavericks will be in a position to draft the best available player. Hollis-Jefferson is an extremely physical, aggressive forward who can guard multiple positions and should be a valuable role player at the next level.
Hollis-Jefferson could be an excellent option should Al-Farouq Aminu get a lucrative offer elsewhere. He's big, bruising defender and could have value even if his raw offensive game never fully develops. I would tend to think that with Aminu (and Parsons) in the fold, RHJ is a little redundant, but the talent is intriguing.