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Roundtable: Michael Porter Jr. or Mo Bamba as potential Mavericks

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The Mavs will have a tough decision to make if they end up picking on the bottom end of the top five in this year’s draft.

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If the season ended today, the Dallas Mavericks (15-30) would, more than likely, have a top five pick (barring some really bad luck in the lottery). As it stands today, Dallas would have the fourth best odds of winning the NBA Draft Lottery. If the Mavs stay in that fourth/fifth pick range, they’ll have a very tough decision to make as a rebuilding franchise.

We asked our staff:

Assuming Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and DeAndre Ayton are all gone, who would you like the Mavs to select? Mo Bamba or Michael Porter Jr.? What about the fast-rising Trae Young? Discuss!

Dalton (@dalton_trigg): I’ll start off by saying that even though Trae Young is an absolute stud in his own right, I don’t want the Mavs to select him. I’ve seen a lot of people comparing him to Steph Curry lately, but Young is smaller, and for that reason alone, I’d like to see the Mavs go in a different direction. Young definitely deserves all the recent hype he’s received, though, and maybe he’ll rise high enough that one of those stellar big-man prospects will fall to Dallas.

I’m going to assume two things for this take: 1) the Mavs will have the 5th pick in the draft, and 2) somebody in the 1-4 range bites on Trae Young .

If that happens, you’re looking at Doncic, Bagley, Ayton and Young all being gone, with top prospects like Michael Porter Jr., Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson Jr remaining. In my opinion, Porter has the potential to be a star right off the bat, assuming his back heals fully. If Porter comes back from his injury with zero limitations, he could potentially rise to stardom faster than any of the other prospects in this draft. That’s a big “if,” though. This is a glimpse of what you’d be looking at with a healthy Porter.

Even though there’s been some questions about Bamba’s motivation at times, I recall people saying similar things about Dennis Smith Jr. last season. If the Mavs think Porter is too much of a risk, it’s really hard for me to see them passing up on a 7-foot big man that has a 7’9” wingspan and can do stuff like this.

Josh (@Boweman55): Give me Michael Porter Jr. all the way and for me, it’s not even close. While Bamba and Young are stellar players, Porter has the potential to be a franchise-altering talent reaching All-NBA level heights...if he’s healthy. The back injury is scary, but at this point, I’d rather the Mavs risk it and shoot for the stars. Bamba, to me, tops out as a Rudy Gobert type. That is super valuable, but it’s not close to the ceiling of Porter.

Young is brilliant, but he’s also a small guard that plays the same position as Dennis Smith Jr. I’d rather Smith be the lead dog in the backcourt and the Mavs should be court marshaled if they draft a player shorter than 6’5 for the next five years. If Porter is a bust and never gets healthy? Oh well, it only forces the Mavs even more to tank more and try again. Dallas needs as much blue-chip, top-tier talent as possible. Aim high and if it doesn’t work out, well, the Mavs won’t really be all that worse off than they are now.

Jordan (@Jbrodess): If you have to put me in a corner, and make me choose between these two, it’s Porter and it’s by a mile. As I wrote in my recent Prospect Watch, I’m not as high on Bamba as others. He’s got potential, but it’s going to take a while for that potential to be realized, and I could envision Carlisle holding him to a very high standard early on. And maybe I’m greedy, but I just want to see a guy who can contribute quickly.

Maybe that’s hypocritical, opting for Porter (not knowing his health and ability to bounce back). But as Josh said, he’s a top tier talent, and it’d be worth the risk (and perhaps the wait) in that spot in the draft.

Young should not be considered. When the Mavs have so many needs, it’s not necessary to muddy the waters for DSJ.

I will add, if the Mavs are in that spot and don’t want Porter, I hope they bypass Bamba and grab Jaren Jackson Jr.

Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): I don’t want Bamba, but the tools are too ridiculous to ignore. Drafting Bamba, though, would mean the Mavs are finally embracing a rebuild. He’s young, and he lacks a lot of basketball wherewithal that will only come with time. And if the Mavericks were to draft him, they’d owe it to him to actually develop him.