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NBA mock drafts: experts divided on Mavericks’ best option

With the Mavericks picking ninth, let’s see who everyone believes they will draft.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Next month, the Dallas Mavericks will select a player in the 2017 NBA Draft with the ninth overall selection.

Now that the order is official, NBA Offseason Speculation can truly begin in full force. That starts with mock drafts. It’s been years since the Mavericks have picked this high, and that means there’s a wide variety of options for Dallas. Will a highly regarded player fall into their laps? Who is the best fit? Should they reach? Everyone has an opinion, so let’s see what everyone has to say the day after the lottery.

ESPN’s Chad Ford believes the Mavericks will select French guard Frank Ntilikina, since “the Mavs have scouted him more than anyone in the league. They know what they'd be getting.” CBS Sports agrees that Ntilikina is Dallas bound, saying they “see a remarkable perimeter defender and great game manager,” which might be exactly what Dallas needs. Sports Illustrated also thinks Ntilikina is the pick because he “has the physical gifts to become one of the league’s best two-way point guards in time.”

The experts at Draft Express have Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen winding up in Dallas. USA Today also believes Markkanen should be the pick, saying “that the Finland native actually plays like the Mavericks legend.” That would be fine if it were true (it isn’t). Sporting News believes the same nonsense, calling him a “fitting understudy” to Dirk.

Fox Sports’ initial mock draft has Dennis Smith falling to Dallas, which would be a shock. Bleacher Report believes Dallas would select Smith “without thinking twice” because “they need a new lead guard, and between his explosive athleticism and volume production, Smith fits the description.”

Hoopshype is the only major outlet showing Dallas taking a real risk, selecting Justin Patton of Creighton.

As we can see, an early survey of the mocks reveals that the Mavericks will have options. With a month until the draft, there’s plenty of time for speculation to build.