In only eight days, the Dallas Mavericks will be making a very important pick in the NBA Draft. Having the ninth overall pick in a talent-laden draft, the Mavs seem to be in position to get a high quality player, no matter who is available by then. About 3 weeks ago, there were a couple of experts (Draft Express and USA Today) picking Lauri Markkanen to land with Dallas. The rest of the field, for the most part, had the Mavs selecting either Dennis Smith or Frank Ntilikina. With about a week to go, and most of the scouting and workouts completed, has anything changed? Let’s find out.
Markkanen no longer the favorite
Out of all the mock drafts we rounded up this time, it appears that no one other than SB Nation thinks the Mavs will end up taking Markkanen after all.
Could this be because of Dirk Nowitzki’s recent interview when he said he doesn't think “that’s the route we’re going to take?” Could it be that out of the reported list of players Dallas hopes to workout, Markkanen isn’t one of them? Or maybe it’s about all the recent love Mark Cuban has been showing to Ntilikina over in Italy. Whatever it is, it’s good to see the experts thinking that Dallas isn’t going to make that reach, especially when there’s going to be more talented players on deck when the Mavs are on the clock.
Frank (Ntilikina) The Favorite
As it has been for a while, Ntilikina is still a very popular expert pick for the Mavs. CBS Sports still has Ntilikina as the pick, also adding, “Watch his game tape and you see a remarkable perimeter defender and great game manager,” which is exactly what Dallas needs. In a consensus mock draft, NBA.com also has Ntilikina as the pick, noting that the 18-year-old frenchman “caught scouts’ eyes” with his awesome performance at the FIBA U-18 European Championship back in December.
The Ringer picked Ntilikina as the Mavs pick at ninth, saying that he’s “a defensive stopper at the point guard spot with excellent feel,” but also that being such a raw prospect makes his upside “a complete mystery.” Lastly, Sports Illustrated also believes that Ntilikina be the pick for Dallas in their latest mock, adding that even though he is unproven up to this point, he “could blossom into a great defensive weapon for Rick Carlisle.”
Dennis “Baby Westbrook” Smith
Ok, so maybe I'm the only one that actually calls him that, but there’s still some comparisons there. Some people think Dennis Smith could go as high as sixth to the Orlando Magic, depending on how much they like him. However, the most likely scenario for Smith seems to be either being drafted eighth by the New York Knicks or ninth by the Mavs. Fox Sports has Smith landing in Dallas, adding that his “explosiveness and ability to create his own shot are probably too good for the Mavs to pass up.”
The experts at Draft Express also have Smith heading to the Mavs, noting that even though he had some “extreme highs” at NC State, he also had some really bad showings that resulted in his head coach being fired. There is some questions being raised about Smith’s character, but as an explosive 19-year-old that averaged 18.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game, he might be worth the risk for a Mavs team that needs a lift at the point guard position.