The NBA Draft has concluded and it’s time to welcome in some new faces to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks had an active draft night, completing a trade with the OKC Thunder that allowed them to move back two spots from pick number 10 to draft Dereck Lively II from Duke, while also offloading Davis Bertans’ contract, creating a $17 million TPE (Traded Player Exception). The TPE was then sent to the Sacramento Kings for Richaun Holmes and pick number 24, where Olivier-Maxence Prosper from Marquette was selected. Following the draft, they signed undrafted TCU guard Mike Miles Jr. to a two-way contract and UAB’s Jordan Walker to a one-year deal.
These moves have left fans excited for what’s to come with this team. Bringing in new, young faces always draws fans in. It gives fans something to root for and be excited over. With how things went last year with the Mavericks, it’s exciting to know they are at least trying to fix their mistakes that caused them to miss the playoffs.
Drafting Lively finally gives the Mavericks a center that can protect the rim and rebound, something that has been absent on this roster for far too long. The 19-year-old is 7’1 and has a 7’8 wingspan, and was a shot-blocking guru last season at Duke, averaging 2.4 per game. Once the selection was made at 12, fans began to fall more in love with the idea of Lively during his post-draft comments, stating in an interview with 97.1 The Freak, “I can definitely use my defensive ability to turn it into offense.” This will be of great help to Dallas, who was 27th in offensive transition frequency last season. Drafting Lively has definitely addressed some of the Mavericks’ glaring issues at the center position and MFFLs are excited to finally welcome in a big-man that seems eager to help win games for this team.
Taking Prosper was a reassurance that Dallas is trying to fix their poor defense. The 20-year-old is 6’8 and has a 7’1 wingspan. He has shown to be a quick, gritty defender with an ability to guard positions two-four and has improved his shooting, hitting 34% of his threes at Marquette. Being able to get back into the draft at 24 allowed Dallas to replace some of what they lost in trading Dorian Finney-Smith in February in a defender that does all the little things that contribute to winning. Here’s a clip of Prosper guarding Cam Whitmore that shows the defensive pressure he can impose:
Bringing in Holmes from Sacramento to join the center rotation adds to the team’s overall depth that was absent last year, as does signing undrafted guards Miles and Walker. The two guards are both high energy guys that scored efficiently during their final seasons in college.
Draft night showed that the Mavericks are willing to make moves and take some fliers in order to get back into the playoffs. Offloading Bertans’ deal ended up working out for the Mavericks much better than what fans thought it would. It allowed them to pick up another young prospect with defensive promise, and left them with $3.1 million remaining from the TPE that can be used down the road.
Fans have been begging for change after a lackluster year that led to questions regarding the future of this team. The fans now have something to be excited about while watching Mavericks games, and I will be the first to say that its been a long time since I’ve felt any excitement watching this team, and I am now a believer again. The future looks bright in Dallas and bringing in new faces Thursday night was just the start of a new beginning.