Hold the phone! The Dallas Mavericks aren’t out of draft rumors just yet. Per Zach Harper of The Athletic, Dallas is interested in getting back into the draft if it means they could land Trevor Keels from Duke.
Keels had a slightly disappointing freshman year for the Blue Devils. He wasn’t bad at all, but he didn’t stand out the way I thought he would. Part of that is on Duke (it’s not necessarily a team that historically does a good job of highlighting everyone). Part of it is on Keels. Despite a not-that-stellar season, the potential is still obvious for Trevor Keels. He was a 5-star recruit for a reason.
Does it make sense for the Dallas Mavericks to consider trading back into the 2022 NBA Draft to take Keels? Let’s get into it.
- Strong finisher
- Solid ball handler
- Effortless shooting stroke
- Plays at his own pace
- Good vision
- Can play both on and off the ball
- Active hands
- High basketball IQ
- Relentless worker
- Incredible at denying the ball
- Must improve quickness to guard NBA point guards
If everything goes right: Taller Kyle Lowry
If everything goes wrong: Jalen Brunson from 3 years ago
Most realistic outcome: Rich man’s taller Raymond Felton
Stats and Accomplishments
2021-22 ACC All-Freshman
Best Games Last Season
25 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, 10-18 FG
vs. NC State
12 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals
27 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 turnovers, 10-15 FG, 5-8 3pt FG
Three Key Things
1. Basketball IQ
Trevor Keels’ stats don’t jump off the page. He’s not the kind of guy that was going to walk onto the Duke campus, play next to Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore, and AJ Griffin, and put up All-American numbers. But as the Duke season went on, Keels did whatever Duke asked of him.
When watching Keels, the thing that stands out most is his upper-level basketball IQ on both offense and defense. He sees how plays are developing ahead of time. He reads the opposition well. He makes the right pass, even if it doesn’t lead to an assist. He takes advantage of mismatches.
Keels doesn’t have the prototypical NBA body type. He’s about 6’5” with shoes on which is solid, but at the combine, his body fat percentage calculated out to 13.5 percent. One of the higher numbers for guards, which is fine, he’s just not exactly chiseled.
What I love about Keels’ frame, though, are his broad shoulders, and how he uses his body strength to get to his spots. He’s a little like a mini-Luka Doncic in that way. He doesn’t get bullied on switches. He rebounds the ball well. He finishes through contact, instead of avoiding it.
His body may look unorthodox, but I don’t see it as a negative.
Keels’ 3-point shooting numbers weren’t great at Duke. He shot 31.2 percent on nearly five attempts per game. But I’m not reading into that too much. I’m trusting the eye test with this one. His shot is smooth, clean, and effortless. Every time he shoots, it looks like it’s going in. With NBA spacing, NBA coaching, and more reps, I think Keels will develop into a consistent long-ball shooter.
Role with the Mavericks
Drafting a guy like Trevor Keels would’ve made a lot more sense before the Spencer Dinwiddie trade, but I still think it works.
Right now, Dinwiddie is playing the role of lead ball handler off the bench, but it’s hard to know what his future is with the Mavericks. Also, who knows what will happen with Jalen Brunson this summer?
Trevor Keels would provide the Mavericks with some ball handling insurance, and you can never have too much of that. Take a look at the Boston Celtics right now. You think they’d benefit from another guy who can dribble and protect the ball?
I don’t see Keels replacing Dinwiddie any time soon, but he could definitely take any and all of Trey Burke’s minutes right off the bat. Then, if you need some extended guard play from the bench, he can develop into that guy.
Keels will likely be selected towards the back end of the first round or early in the second round. As long as Dallas can move into one of those spots without giving up too much (shouldn’t be hard), Keels is a good option.
Ultimately, Trevor Keels is the guy I’ve grown obsessed with for the Mavs. Getting a guy with his basketball IQ and skill-set for a cheap price would be a dream come true.