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Mavericks draft preview

Mavericks draft preview

Credit: AP Photo

Perry JOnes seemed like a top-five pick efore the season, but there's an outside chance the high-flying Baylor big man will be available for the Mavericks. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 25 at 8:40 AM

The upcoming 2012 NBA draft is one of the deepest in terms of talent and upside in recent years. The Dallas Mavericks’ 17th pick should therefore provide a player with legitimate talent or upside. Names like Jrue Holliday and Roy Hibbert resonate, as young players picked at 17 who currently contribute as key members of young up-and-coming teams in the NBA. Wouldn’t it be just fantastic if the Mavericks could find a player of that caliber on Thursday?  

The 17th overall selection marks the highest Dallas pick since they selected Devin Harris fifth overall in 2004 (and that was *technically* a Milwaukee Bucks pick!). The Mavs have picked late in the first due to their marvelous regular and post-season success over the last decade -- and Dallas always seemed to trade out of the first for “projects” who get shipped overseas never to be seen again (calling Nick Calathes…calling Nick Calathes). 
In fact, last year’s roster included only two players picked in the first round by the Mavs -- three if you count Rodrigue Beaubois, who arrived via a draft day trade with OKC. One is the team's unquestioned face and icon. The other two (Roddy and Dominique Jones) are not true contributors.
This to say that Dallas did not place a lot of value in their first rounders as the team slowly worked its way towards the championship. They built the squad through free agency and trades. Well, getting swept in the first round and boasting a roster which threatens to lose the majority of its remaining championship pieces certainly changes things. Perhaps it is time to take advantage of a pick with solid draft position.
The name most commonlyassociated with the Mavs at 17 up to this point is North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall.  Marshall has drawn comparisons to Jason Kidd with respect to his passing ability and superior size at the position. He also brings similar offensive liabilities to Kidd at the same age, as he is not much of a shooter. Marshall is the definition a pass-first point guard.  
There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing in a heady floor general who averaged a tick under 10 assists per game against ACC competition.  I love the player, but I question the logic in drafting a PG while the Mavs are courting Free-Agent point guard Deron Williams.  If the team manages to bring in Williams, would it have been worth using the pick on a player who will play marginal minutes over the span of his entire rookie contract?*  It would be fantastic to have great depth at the position, and Marshall would certainly provide adequate depth at point. But under the Mavs' Plan A, I feel as though he would waste away as Williams plays big minutes.  
Other names that have circulated around the Dallas camp are Perry Jones III, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones, Terrence Ross, Myers Leonard and Quincy Miller – among three or four others. See what I mean about this draft being deep? 
Young Perry Jones was widely considered a lock to be a top-five pick as recently as six months ago.  But the 6'11 Dallas native had a sub-par sophomore campaign at Baylor and is now considered a risk of sorts due to his lack of aggression. His partner in the Baylor front-court, Miller, is currently flying up draft boards. He is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered a couple of years ago in High School, but scouts love his athleticism and length.  Miller is a top-ten talent projected to go anywhere from the mid to late first round.
Leonard is an unpolished 7-footer. Sound familiar ,Mavs fans? Yeah, thought so, let’s move along. Sullinger is a bruiser in the mold of Tyler Hansbrough and DeJuan Blair.  The sentiment on Sullinger is that he has already reached his ceiling while in college, which is not necessarily a bad thing -- he is simply unlikely to develop into a star. Ross projects to be a legitimate scoring threat from the shooting guard position, but he needs to bulk up.
This brings me to Terrence Jones, who was a star freshman on the Kentucky team which reached the Final Four in 2011. He took a backseat to the star-studded freshmen this past season, yet still averaged 12 points and seven rebounds per contest.  At 6’9 and 250 lbs he has a prototype NBA power forward's build and is capable of stretching the defense with a suspect, yet just-effective-enough three-point shot. If Jones slips to the Mavs at 17 I think there is just too much value to pass up.
Now that I’ve dug myself this word-ditch, I’m sure the Mavs will just trade out of the first and select a European big-man.

*On the flip-side, if Dallas does not get Williams then three years from now a Marshall selection may look brilliant.  Oh, and not to mention the possible back-up plans at PG in free-agency such as Goran Dragic which would affect a Marshall selection.

Alex Collins is a board-op at the Ticket and wins his fantasy leagues. He doesn't tweet as much as he should, but is still worth a follow at @abcollins1010.