The Dallas Mavericks have a long and tortured history when it comes to the NBA Draft Lottery. As I’m sure you know, the Mavericks have never moved up in the lottery. Not once. Here’s a chronicle of their miserable, no-good, terrible luck:
In 1986, Dallas had the third-best odds going into the lottery, but slipped four spots to number seven. They drafted Roy Tarpley, which worked out at first. But Tarpley was eventually suspended for substance abuse after five seasons, and could never get his career back on track.
In 1989, Dallas had the eighth best odds, and stayed at number eight, drafting Randy White. No, not the Dallas Cowboys’ Randy White. A different one. The Mavericks were in the lottery in 1990, but owed that pick to the Miami Heat.
The summer of 1991 saw the Mavericks in the lottery yet again, this time with the odds for the sixth pick. That’s where they ended up staying, and they drafted Doug Smith, who was as forgettable as his name.
Dallas remained a lottery team for the next three years (the nineties were a dumpster fire for the Mavericks), and wouldn’t you know it, they moved down all three years. In 1992, they fell one spot, from third to fourth, and drafted Jim Jackson. In 1993 and 1994 they had the odds to land the number one pick. They dropped in the draft both years, selecting Jamal Mashburn and Jason Kidd, completing their collection of the Three J’s.
1995 came along, and guess what, Dallas still lived in the lottery. The selected Cherokee Parks at 12, which was where they were slated to pick. They didn’t move up in 1996, either, selecting Samaki Walker at nine.
In 1998, the Mavericks had the sixth-best odds, and stayed right there, selecting Robert “Tractor” Traylor. But they ended up flipping him to the Milwaukee Bucks for Dirk Nowitzki, who some would argue went on to have a pretty decent career in Dallas.
The Mavericks ended up in the lottery again in 2000, slated to pick 12th, and ending up picking 12th (of course). They grabbed Etan Thomas. Thankfully, Nowitzki squashed that lottery nonsense for a DECADE PLUS and the Mavericks didn’t end up missing the playoffs until 2013.
In 2013, Dallas was slotted at 12, picked at 12, choosing Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk was soon shipped off to the Boston Celtics for a second-round pick and change.
The Mavericks stayed out of the lottery until 2017, when they had the ninth-best odds. They stayed there, and selected Dennis Smith Jr.
The next season, Dallas was predicted to pick at the third spot. Instead, due to
a curse placed upon them by Mavs Man poor luck, they fell to number five. This proved costly, as they had to trade their draft pick in the next lottery to the Atlanta Hawks in order to move up to number three and select Luka Doncic. It was easily worth it, but robbed them of an asset to improve the team later on.
Now the Mavericks are back in the lottery, despite having a top five player in the league in Doncic. The stakes are high; if their bad luck continues and they move down in the draft, they’ll surrender their pick to the New York Knicks as the final piece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Hopefully the worst thing that happens is the Mavericks stay where the odds have them—at the 10th spot. But it’s possible their fortunes have changed, and for the first time ever, the Mavericks move up in the draft lottery. They can end up at picks one through four if they do move up. It’s something they desperately need in order to improve their roster quickly.