As the 2022-23 NBA season ended, the Mavericks faced criticism for shutting down players for a two-game tank.
Had Dallas won these final two games, they still would’ve missed out on a play-in tournament spot to Oklahoma City.

As a reminder, Dallas would only retain their 2023 draft pick if it remained in the top 14. The decision to increase their lottery odds was a decision to add to the young core of Doncic, Green, and Hardy.

It was no secret that the Mavs were looking to improve their interior defense. General Manager, Nico Harrison, has been open about areas in which the roster needs improvement. With this specific area of need in mind, Dallas had their eyes on Dereck Lively II. They believed that they could snag him at a pick further down than ten, and they were correct.

Dallas offloaded the contract of Davis Bertans, along with the 10th pick, to Oklahoma City in exchange for the 12th overall pick.

This accomplished multiple objectives:

  1. Draft Lively at 12
  2. $17M Trade exception
  3. Full Mid-Level exception to pursue rotational players such as Grant Williams, Bruce Brown, Harrison Barnes

Dallas immediately utilized the trade exception granted from the OKC trade. Sacramento sent Richaun Holmes and the 24th overall pick, while Dallas absorbed Holmes’ salary, which was only possible as a result of that trade exception.

They went on to draft Oliver-Maxence Prosper out of Marquette, whose draft stock quickly ascended at the NBA combine.

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I don’t think any of us Mavs fans could have predicted such a successful outcome to this draft. They opened up cap space while also bringing in two impactful players on rookie deals.

Not to mention, Richaun Holmes is a player who had been thrown into Mavs trade scenarios for what feels like years.

This goes to show that Nico Harrison will back up his talk. Rob Perez said it best (in reference to the two-game tank) when he said that Mark Cuban is ‘waving that white flag like a sword.’

We witnessed a front office masterclass on Draft Night.

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