Oh boy, things can happen fast in the NBA these days. Since we last spoke, the powers that be within the league, as well as the NBAPA, came to an agreement that will see NBA basketball back on December 22nd, 2020. Along with that came an agreement that the free agency period this season will begin November 20th — 2 days after the draft.
The Mavericks, a typically tight-lipped front office when it comes to draft and free agency plans, have seen their name pop up in a number of stories that suggest we may be in for quite the ride either on draft night or when free agency opens. There are no future tellers here, and the only thing we can do is prepare for every scenario. Hence, the mock draft round up.
Bleacher Report: Desmond Bane, SG TCU (Formerly: RJ Hampton, G NZ Breakers):
Bleacher Report swaps one guard for another. Out is boom or bust RJ Hampton, and in is suddenly buzzy local prospect Desmond Bane. Month ago, there was hope that the Mavs could snag Bane at 31. Now, they shouldn’t be shocked if he’s off the board at 18.
The Ringer: Aaron Nesmith, Wing, Vanderbilt (Formerly: Josh Green, Wing, Arizona):
Wings are only becoming more in-demand in the modern NBA, and Dallas - even more than other teams - is in dire need of help there. Nesmith is off the board in nearly every other mock, so if he were available at 18, it would seem like a no-brainer pick.
ESPN envisions a world where the Mavericks are focused on bolstering the backcourt with Luka Doncic with Kira Lewis - a combo guard that, if he’s there at 18, would certainly be a surprise fall. If you loved what Trey Burke brought in the bubble, you’ll also probably love this pick. Others who have been hurt by one too many failed 6’3” guards will probably have Ricky Ledo flashbacks seeing Kira in a Mavs cap on draft day.
CBS Sports: RJ Hampton, G NZ Breakers (Formerly: Desmond Bane, SG TCU):
CBS has done the exact opposite as Bleacher Report in exchanging Bane for Hampton. Case in point with regards to the aforementioned Bane surge, he’s actually gone 2 picks earlier to the Trailblazers at 16. If the Mavericks believe their player development teams can coax out Hamptons best traits (explosive athleticism with good off-ball instincts and finishing ability as a slasher), it could be a steal. He could also never play in the league.
The Athletic: Aleksej Pokusevski, C Olympicacos B (Unchanged):
Speaking of “might never play in the league…” Poku is an enigma that could very well grow to become part of a three-headed Euro death mech in Dallas. Alternatively, he could get caught in a large Texas gust of wind and never be seen again. Even in a best case scenario for the 7’0” 200lbs probably involves spending a year bulking up and getting ready for NBA-level opposition. It’s fari to ask if that’s the kind of project the Mavs should be taking on after Luka has catapulted them into win-now mode in record time.
Rotoworld: Jalen Smith, PF/C, Maryland: (Formerly: Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina):
Smith worked on his 3 point shot in his sophomore season and saw it jump 10% to 36.8% in college. If that proves to be actual improvement and not a mirage, it would be quite the potent weapon to pair with his high motor, strong screens and touch around the rim.
Sports Illustrated: RJ Hampton, G NZ Breakers (Formerly: Theo Maledon, PG Villeurbanne):
SI moves Maledon down a pick and opts instead for Hampton. If Dallas does truly want backcourt help, Hampton is the guy that seems to be available most often for the Mavericks in various drafts.
Yahoo! Sports: Aleksej Pokusevski, C Olympicacos B (Formerly: Josh Green, Wing, Arizona):
Can you feel the Poku-mentum? The Yahoo mock is a bit wild in that it sees Dallas forego guys that have been commonly mocked to them in the past (Wing help in Josh Green or Saddiq Bey, guards like Bane and Maledon, and bigs like Jalen Smith) and instead swing for the fences with the Poku pick.
Will the Mavericks be movers and shakers on draft day? How much of what we’ve heard coming from league source is front office smoke screen? Is it even legal for the Mavericks to draft another good player after landing a franchise cornerstone? History says no. These questions and more will be answered in just seven short days.