We are inside a week from the NBA Draft, and the always tight-lipped Dallas Mavericks have given little indication of who they might be considering with the 37th pick. Though one list of players that worked out for the Mavs has been leaked, from the looks of the list itself it appeared to be players that the Mavericks would consider should they be available as undrafted free agents.
That leaves us with little to base projections on, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at players who could be a good fit in Dallas, if they’re still on the board when the Mavs are on the clock. First, let’s look at five guards the front office should consider on draft night.
Ty Jerome (Virginia)
Junior, 6’5 195 lbs
Even though the national champion Virginia Cavaliers had a soon-to-be lottery pick in their starting lineup, for long stretches of nearly every important game Ty Jerome carried that squad. He was often the engine, creating for himself and distributing to teammates. Though he doesn’t have great length or athleticism, he has decent size at the guard position, and is smooth in the pick-and-roll. This season he averaged 14 points, four rebounds and six assists, while shooting 40 percent from three.
In Dallas, Jerome could be a nice compliment to Luka Doncic, playing the role of secondary distributor and ball handler, and would be a much-needed three point shooter off the bench. He’s solid enough to play both guard positions on either end. Questions about how he’ll do in a faster paced game are valid. But he’s the sort of high IQ player you could see thriving under Rick Carlisle. He’s likely not available at pick 37...but if the stars aligned and the Mavericks wanted a guard, he’s the one to pick.
Luguentz Dort (Arizona State)
Freshman, 6’4 215 lbs
This guy might literally be all muscle. He’s a super-athlete that plays with energy and aggression, and he’s a lot of fun to watch when everything is clicking. Dort thrives in attack mode, whether that be in the open floor or driving through a weakened offense. He’s explosive around the rim, and has a good second hop. And defensively he can take on either guard position. While he averaged 16 points, four rebounds, two assists and 1.5 steals in his first season at Arizona State, he shot just 31 percent from three — troubling for a guard.
Dort would have an obvious role in Dallas as a spark plug defender off the bench. A lot of his defensive prowess now is from his tenacity, so he’ll still need to develop some technique to be a ball-stopper. If the Mavs use this pick on a player they plan to use at all next season, he really needs to be able to hit the three. Dort could be a second round steal if he found his outside shot.
Zach Norvell Jr. (Gonzaga)
Sophomore, 6’5 205 lbs
Norvell played on two solid Gonzaga teams in college, and was a great contributor both seasons. Though he doesn’t show up consistently in mock drafts, Norvell is worth a look because of his ability to hit the three ball. In his second season with the Zags Norvell posted averages of 15 points, four rebound, three assists while shooting 37 percent from three. And that’s on seven attempts per game.
With the Mavericks Norvell could be a running mate alongside Jalen Brunson off the bench. This is a broken record, but the Mavericks badly need three point shooting and should take it anywhere they can get it. Norvell also has the size to move along the perimeter defensively, which is useful when Carlisle likes to deploy smaller lineups. Norvell will likely be available when the Mavericks are selecting, but Norvell should only be considered if some of the bigger wings are off the board.
Carsen Edwards (Purdue)
Junior, 6’1 200 lbs
The undersized guard had quite the final run of his college career, putting the Boilermakers on his back in a deep tournament run (nearly upsetting Jerome’s Cavaliers). Stringing together a jaw dropping Madness run with 26, 42, 29 and 42 points, Edwards flashed all the confidence and clutch shot making ability that he was known for. He’s not so much a distributing point guard, but a lethal scorer that plays bigger than his size. His final season at Purdue he averaged 24 points, four rebounds and three assists while shooting 36 percent from three.
Edwards is on this list because he’s hyper-talented, falls within the draft window that the Mavericks will be active in, and...well...the Mavericks can’t say no to small guards. Respect to Edwards, he could be a great pickup in the early second round for a team. The Mavericks should not be selecting him, unless they have plans to move on from Brunson (which would be quite a surprise).
DaQuan Jeffries (Tulsa)
Junior, 6’5 230
After spending a season at Oral Roberts the Oklahoma Native played two final seasons at Tulsa, where he displayed his athleticism and explosiveness. Jeffries has an NBA body, with ideal length for a guard, that could probably spend some time at small forward as well. He has deceiving power in the lane as a slasher, and moves well in the open floor. It looks like he has the foundation to be a versatile role player in the NBA. His final season in Tulsa he averaged 13 points, six rebounds, and two assists while shooting 37 percent from three.
Much like the other guards listed here Jeffries could play a nice bench role in Dallas. He’s probably more positionally versatile than the other players here, allowing Carlisle to use him in a variety of ways. There are areas of his game that are raw, but the tools are there. And you can’t teach his length and power. If the Mavericks are set on getting a guard, he’s a realistic option at the 37th spot.