In the 2019 draft lottery, Dallas’ luck did not change. The Mavericks pick landed at 10, which means it will be sent to Atlanta as the final piece of the Luka Doncic 2018 draft night trade.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic projects the Hawks will take Jaxson Hayes, the center out of the University of Texas, with the Mavericks’ pick. (They also have the eighth pick.) Now that we have a clear picture of that trade we can more clearly evaluate the ripples of that move.
Mavericks fans may be disappointed to miss out on Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, but Dallas ultimately wanted their pick to convey this year. The protections on the pick they sent Atlanta this year decreased with each year the Mavericks held on to their pick.
Another result of the Doncic deal being finalized is that we now have a clearer picture of the Porzingis trade. The first rounders Dallas will send to New York are now set: Dallas will send an unprotected 2021 first rounder and a top 10 protected 2023 pick to the Knicks to complete that trade.
Dallas will keep their 2020 and 2022 first round picks for themselves and will be unable to trade them because of the Stepien rule, which prevents teams from trading consecutive first round picks. Building a contending team takes time, and with Zion Williamson likely to end up in New Orleans it could be even harder for the Mavericks to make the playoffs next season absent some unexpected free agency signings.
If Dallas falls short of the playoffs next season, they will return to the lottery next year where MFFLs hope their luck will finally change. Even if it doesn’t, the Mavericks are still thrilled with their trade for Luka Doncic. Last year Dallas dropped from third to fifth on lottery night. This year Dallas’ pick fell to 10th, and if you told Mavericks fans last year it would only take the 10th pick in a weak draft to land Luka Doncic, most would jump for joy.
Now Dallas will look toward the future where they hope and believe the picks Dallas will send to New York won’t change based on ping pong balls. But no matter what happens with those future picks, Dallas has built one of the most promising young cores in the NBA without the process-like bottoming out for nigh on a decade.
Acquiring Porzingis and Doncic in an eight month span has Dallas better positioned for the future than sitting back and praying for ping pong balls ever could.