We’re at the point in the Mavericks’ offseason where there’s simply too much time before anything meaningful can happen, and there are so many potential outcomes that it’s starting to drive us all crazy. Between the outcomes in the draft lottery, draft, and the variety of paths the Mavericks can pursue in free agency, there’s just too much to think about.
So with that in mind, here’s my guide to how to survive this offseason.
Step 1: Understand that nothing matters until the NBA Draft Lottery is held.
It’s so easy right now to leap ahead to free agency, mainly because it’s the most likely place where Dallas makes substantive changes to their team this offseason. Yet with the changes to the lottery odds, there’s a 26.3 percent chance the Mavericks leap from 9th into the top four and a 6 percent chance at number one.
I understand that these odds aren’t great, but a slightly better than one in four chance isn’t to be ignored either.
Step 2: The Mavericks get lucky and win the lottery?!
This is so absurdly unlikely (6%) and yet it’s still worth talking about. The jump to number one where the Mavericks would select Zion Willamson would be a franchise redirect. Getting Luka Doncic last year and Kristaps Porzingis this year jump started a rebuild process that might have taken a few more offseasons.
Though the Mavericks would talk a big game about being open to trading the pick, Williamsons’s advanced stats (and base stats, really) are better than any prospect this century. He’d fill in all the current holes on the Dallas roster outside of shooting from distance. The chance to pair three under 25 players this talented would be too much to pass up.
If the Mavericks jump to one in the lottery, all other offseason plans get re-shuffled.
Step 2b: The Mavericks get lucky and jump to spot 2, 3, or 4 in the draft
This is a slightly more likely option (20.2) and presents the Mavericks with a head-spinning number of options, all of which affect offseason plans. From here the Mavericks could simply draft a player, try to trade down and draft a player, or make the selection on behalf of another team and then trade the player away.
Considering we’ve heard next to nothing about how Dallas feels about any lottery prospect, this is where the myraid of options could overwhelm those of us who like to think ahead. For me personally, it’s the least desirable outcome just because of the lack of clarity it presents. There’s a wide, wide chasm of talent between Williamson and every other prospect. And yet this could be the most fun outcome as well, simply because the Mavericks front office is on a hot streak the last year or so with trades. It might be fun seeing what Donnie Nelson could do with an asset like a top four draft pick.
Step 2c: The Maverick pick stays at 9 or slides to 10 or 11
This is what’s most likely (73.7 percent). If the Mavericks lose their first round pick, they’ll at least have a shot at a younger player with the 37th pick overall. Losing the pick would provide clarity on how to approach the offseason in terms of cap space and roster needs.
Step 3: NOW we can all begin playing fantasy general manager
Once the draft order is decided on May 14th, everything after becomes much more straightforward, even if the Mavs get the 2nd, 3rd or 4th pick.
With a clearer look at the salary cap and the needs of the roster, figuring out what the Mavericks could do, want to do, and will do becomes a lot more fun. According to Marc Stein, the top tier free agents like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, or Kyrie Irving do not have the Mavericks on their wish lists.
Does Dallas pivot to Kemba Walker? Do they hope Al Horford opts out in Boston? Is Khris Middleton a possibility? Those are just the top names. What if the Mavericks pivoted to second and third tier possibilities like Malcolm Brogdon or Goran Dragic?
Step 4: Enjoy time without basketball
I love hoops so much but by February and March it’s become nearly too much to keep up with. The quick pivot to the offseason makes it hard to take any real time away from thinking about the Mavericks.
In the end, I’m attempting to approach the offseason in two main chunks. The first is before the draft where I’m largely ignoring free agency and simply hoping for that number one overall pick. If and when that pipe dream falls through on May 14th, then I’ll pivot to thinking more about the best way the Mavericks can try to build a playoff team for the 2019-20 season.
Then, I recommend catching up on other sports or forms of entertainment you’ve neglected during the long season. After all, training camp is just around the corner in September/October!