The Dallas Mavericks are officially drafting 10th in next month’s NBA draft. With just over five weeks to analyze and overanalyze every possible scenario for what’s to come for Dallas, we might as well jump right into the deep end. Last night we shared a list of guys that could be there for the Mavericks, depending on how things shake out, and we have been doing profiles of a variety of players the last several weeks. Expect more of that in the coming days as well.
In the meantime, if you’re curious about where the draft experts were the last time we did this round up in late April, click here. Sound off on your early preference in the comments!
Taylor Hendricks, PF
After the lengths the Mavs went to avoid losing this pick, they can breathe a sigh of relief at not being leapfrogged. Surrounding Luka Doncic with enough talent to maintain his confidence in the direction of the franchise is a major priority, and improving defensively will likely be one of the first places Dallas’ front office starts. Hendricks’ combination of defensive versatility, high-level intensity and perimeter shooting will likely be attractive here.
Jarace Walker, PF
Tanking out of the play-in didn’t work for Dallas to move up in the lottery, but at least it keeps its pick, and now the Mavs will potentially look to trade it. After losing Jalen Brunson in free agency for nothing, then trading core pieces from last year’s playoff squad for Kyrie Irving, this team is in a far worse place now, with a terrible defense. If they keep the pick, Walker might help here, providing bulk and versatility. On offense, he would be a great offensive complement to Luka Doncic as a screener and cutter.
Anthony Black, G
Anthony Black is a huge guard who should make a significant impact on the defensive end as he figures out his role offensively. At 6’7, 200 pounds, Black is a determined on-ball defender with sharp rotational instincts who could be able to switch across four positions at the NBA level. Black has a strong lower body and quick hands that helps him hold up against bigger matchups, and he’s still quick enough to hang with speedy guards most of the time. The question for Black is how much scoring punch he can provide. He’s a shaky outside shooter (30 percent from three on 98 attempts), and doesn’t generate much rim pressure as a driver. He’s more of a connective passer than a true lead guard, but if the shot comes around this is exactly the type of player teams want in the rotation during the playoffs.
Derek Lively, C
The Scout: Lively struggled to start the season, but by the end of it, there was not a more impactful defender in college basketball. He’s an elite rim protector who averaged 2.5 blocks per game this past season in 20 minutes. He defends ball screens well and can do so in a variety of different schemes. He can hard hedge and recover, he can drop, and he can play at the level. He’s mobile and runs the court very well. Offensively, he’s extremely limited right now, but Lively has immense tools with a 7-7 wingspan that portends potential to not just be a good defender but a great one.
The Fit: The Mavericks essentially have no long-term answer at the center position right now, and they desperately need rim protection and rebounding to pair with Luka Dončić and potentially Kyrie Irving. Lively would be a tremendous partner for both of them in ball screens on offense, and defensively, he can cover for them if they lose track of their players. This is probably on the early end of Lively’s range, but the fit is too good.
Gradey Dick, SF
Tall wings who have the ability to shoot it — and do so successfully in the multitude of ways Dick can shoot it — don’t come around every draft. His game is tailor-made for an NBA role player with room to grow into more alongside a superstar in Luka Doncic.
Gradey Dick, SF
The Mavericks could draft Dick for his shooting and the extra spacing he’d provide for the team’s star ball-handlers. There is a guarantee tied to his shot-making and its value/purpose to the rotation and eventual starting lineup.
Taylor Hendricks, PF
Rival NBA executives expect Dallas to dangle the 10th overall pick as trade bait to improve the team in the immediate future around franchise star Luka Doncic with the hope of re-signing Kyrie Irving too.
Should Dallas keep this pick, Hendricks could be a potential replacement for Christian Wood, who’s entering free agency this summer.
NBA executives believe Taylor Hendricks is an ideal frontcourt player because of his positional versatility to play the four or small-ball five, spread the defense beyond the arc with his shooting, switch and defend guards and wings on the perimeter, and block shots at the rim.