A look at what the 2018 NBA draft told us about the Mavericks future.
To keep a fan base interested its important to show there is a plan in place. A 2018 record of 24 – 58, seems light years from a plan. If you consider the Mavericks picked 9th in the 2017 draft, mediocrity was expected the following season. To turn things around this season we need youth and talent. Great draft picks, trades, and a savvy rookie free agent signing keep me hopeful about this upcoming season.
Securing the 3rd overall pick provides a prime opportunity to draft a club changer. The Mavericks are no stranger to overseas talent making Luka Doncic, the Slovenian native, an ideal prospect. Our draft history supports as much. No question, Doncic has the mystic of an overseas first round pick considering two things. Most fans have never seen him play and the talent of his overseas opponents could be considered questionable. A brief YouTube search establishes the kid has game but we all know the NBA is a different animal. Not to be taken lightly Doncic is a beast in his own right. The 19-year-old has been a pro since 16 where he debuted for Real Madrid. Last season he leads Real Madrid to a EuroLeague title, won the EuroLeague Final Four MVP, in addition to Euroleague Rising Star and ACB Best Young Player for the second consecutive season. No question winning and acclaim has been a part of his young basketball identity. Based on his potential we have to be patient and endure his growing pains in the hopes of something special down the road. He could very well grow into the cornerstone of this franchise.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the seldom spoken of Jalen Brunson is just as decorated. The 2018 National Player of the Year, two-time NCAA Champion, and Big East Player of the Year could be the PG of the future for the Mavs. Researching his background, it’s hard to miss the chip on his shoulder. He brings a hard-nosed mentality to the backcourt that can’t be filled with talent alone. Brunson is described as a floor general. Considering his age (21) and impressive 3-year college career he could quickly transition to successfully competing against bigger, taller, and stronger NBA guards. He has to use on ball defense to disrupt the flow of opposing teams’ offenses. When on offense facilitating quality possessions will be the primary focus. One would think because Yogi signed with the Kings JB is bound to see plenty of opportunities this season. Obviously, based on these picks the plan is to secure the backcourt for the future. No denying Dennis Smith Jr., Luka, and JB put us on the right path.
The Draft Class
In today’s NBA versatility is a significant requirement for most forwards. The ability to guard and play multiple positions creates mismatches teams can’t resist. The additions of Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo show the Mavs are steadfast in this approach. Spalding is a slim and athletic power forward that can play the center in some lineups. Of course, he can knock down the three ball. Kostas, is an extremely raw talent, with a similar build to Spalding. He played college ball at Dayton for a year with little production but do you think the Mavs were going to pass on an Antetokounmpo for the second time? I think not. On draft day they intelligently turned Shake Milton into these two prospects. It’s likely neither will see regular rotation minutes next season but their development could be key in the future. Rounding out the rookie class shooting guard Ryan Broekhoff has shown a rare shooting ability that can’t be overlooked. It’ll be tough for the Aussie native to obtain minutes but his signing shows how much the Mavericks value three-point accuracy.
A continued effort to strengthen the backcourt is a philosophy most fans can support. We have a solid mix of veterans, rookies and young talent like Dennis Smith Jr, Harrison Barnes. Then add a motivated Deandre Jordan and this could be enough to make some noise out West. More importantly, it’ll establish a core we can count on in the future. As a fan what I appreciate most about the Mavericks is their ability to establish a plan and follow through with it. Let’s hope this plan doesn’t end in disaster.
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