DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks GM Nico Harrison can’t say much. Even though multiple sources report that the Mavericks traded their first-round draft pick this year in a multi-player trade with the Houston Rockets in exchange for Christian Wood, Harrison can’t talk about it because the NBA hasn’t finalized it.
So, as he sat in front of the media at the Mavericks practice facility in Dallas Thursday night, he instead riffed about possibilities, prospects, and how to move up, back, in, and out of the draft.
“We’re open to anything,” Harrison said. “We’re not calling people trying to trade our players to try and get into the draft, but you never know what comes up.”
Dallas doesn’t have any picks in this year’s draft. Their aforementioned first-round pick, No. 26 overall, is going to Houston. They owe their second-round pick to the Washington Wizards. The Mavericks sent it to the Wizards in the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to D.C. for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.
Harrison likes the talent in the draft, regardless. He says it’s a deeper group of players rather than top heavy. While there is a group of 20 players Harrison believes will be available late in the first-round and early second-round, if a prospect he has his eyes on falls in the draft, he says he has the tools available to make a move.
“We know the guys in the draft,” Harrison said. “So, if something unusual came up, we would be ready to pounce on them. If a guy is predicted to slide, it’s not a slide, you know what I mean? A slide is when a guy is predicted to go high and for some reason, he goes really low. If you think a guy is going to slide, it’s not a slide.”
Chutes and ladders aside, it’s been a while since the Mavericks have had a first-round pick, outside of 2017. In fact, it can be argued that Dallas hasn’t really cared about draft selections in two decades–Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson aside.
Harrison is aware of the team’s draft history, but if he wants to make his mark in the draft, he can’t. In his second draft as an NBA GM his plate is empty. If that changes, Harrison says he’s ready for anything.
“We take it all into consideration,” Harrison said. “We have so many scenarios, we take it all under consideration. It’s all on our board.”