The draft is the best way to add talent to an NBA team. The Dallas Mavericks have not acted as if that were true for most of the last 2 decades. We can all hope that prioritizing the draft more comes as a result of all of the front office changes from this year.
The Mavericks likely do not have the assets to pick up a pick early in the first round so this will not feature Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley etc. They are completely outside of the Mavericks ability to acquire.
History shows that picks can be acquired late in the first round or early in the second round if a team is motivated to do so. Maverick pre-draft favorite and rookie contributor for the Grizzlies, Desmond Bane was drafted with a pick acquired in a three team trade.
The Grizzlies only gave up two future second round picks and cash considerations along with taking on Mario Hezonja’s nearly $2 million expiring contract. The Mavericks can make that kind of move if they value a prospect. Here are some of the big men prospects they could take after making such a move.
Sharpe is a massive human being. He is a 6’11” 265 lbs center who is actually incredibly fluid when switching. He played a good amount of power forward because of roster issues at North Carolina, but he will absolutely be a center in the NBA. He is not an astounding vertical leaper but he is a sufficient jumper and vertical athleticism is not as important to NBA basketball as most might believe.
His raw numbers are not very impressive because he played slightly less than 20 minutes per game on a poor offensive team. He plays incredibly hard and smart. Those attributes lead him to being an elite offensive rebounder. This skill should translate to the NBA level. He averaged 22.0 rebounds per 100 possessions with 9.7 of those being offensive.
He also averaged 2.6 blocks and 2.3 steals per 100 possessions. This is an impressive amount of defensive playmaking in limited minutes. The Mavericks could sorely use some improvement in this area.
New coach Jason Kidd has likely learned that being too hyperactive on defense is a negative, but active defense has been one of his trademarks as a player and a coach. The Mavericks will not be as passive defensively as they have been recently and having the right personnel will make that more effective.
Sharpe also has untapped offensive playmaking upside. He averaged 4.2 assists per 100 possessions and showed even more flashes of passing ability in high school. Perhaps most importantly for the current NBA, he has shown a stunning amount of switchability given his size. He was placed on wings and guards frequently this year and managed to hold his own.
Reading this might sound like the profile of a player picked in the top ten but he does have warts. He cannot shoot. He was 0 for 2 on threes and shot 50.5 percent on free throws. He also had issues getting into a stance on the perimeter at times which caused him to get beat off the dribble. Because of his passing chops, he sometimes tried to do too much leading to a 17.8 percent turnover rating. Overall, he has his flaws but he would be a fantastic addition to the Mavericks roster.
This would be an example of the Mavericks returning to their old ways of prioritizing athletic traits over knowing how to play basketball. In contrast to Sharpe, Sims is a phenomenal vertical athlete. He had a 44.5 inch max vertical at the combine.
Unfortunately, he combines that athleticism with very little in the way of basketball skill. While Sharpe cannot shoot, Sims can essentially only dunk offensively. He also had great rebounding rates averaging 17.0 per 100 possessions.
He tries hard defensively but he struggles to discern which actions are dangerous and which are decoys. He shot 52.0 percent from the free throw line this season and was 0 for 1 from 3 over a 4 year college career. The athletic traits he has will likely make some team fall in love but he should not be drafted.
Bassey is kind of a compromise between Sharpe and Sims. He is 6’11 with a 7’3 wingspan. He offers many of the same strengths as Sharpe. He is a fantastic rebounder who also averaged 22.1 rebounds per 100 possessions. He is a much better shot blocker than either Sims or Sharpe as he averaged 5.9 blocks per 100 possessions. He also averaged 33.6 points per 100 possessions as teams simply could not keep him away from the rim.
He might even have some shooting upside as he made 29 of 91 threes(31.9 percent) over his three years and made 76.8 percent of his free throws. So he is an elite rim runner, offensive rebounder and rim protector who might even have shooting upside.
Why is he not a top 5 pick? He played much worse competition which dramatically inflates his numbers. Western Kentucky is in Conference USA while Texas is in the Big 12 and UNC is in the ACC. His jumper is incredibly slow and he needs time to gather before shooting. He is also not nearly as switchable as Sharpe. He has shown the ability to recover on guards when asked, but that is against Conference USA guards. His offensive playmaking is also stunningly bad as he averaged 1.3 assists and 4.2 turnovers per 100 possessions.
None of these players drastically change the Mavericks ceiling next year. But any of them could develop into an important complimentary part of the Mavericks core as they continue to look to improve around all everything superstar Luka Doncic. Perhaps more importantly, they could symbolize a renewed commitment from the Mavericks to acquire talent through the draft.