During typical years, there’s somewhat of a drop-off from lottery players to late first-rounders, and another from them to second-rounders. However, this year’s draft is said to have unprecedented depth, meaning players will still be on the board in the second round that would normally have been taken much, much earlier in the evening.
Ahead of tomorrow night, Mavs.com took a look around the web at some of the most prominent NBA sites to see who analysts project Dallas to select with the 34th pick. As you’ll see, different mocks have the Mavericks approaching the draft from different directions. Some analysts project Dallas to pick a “draft-and-stash” player — a younger, commonly European player who currently plays overseas and might not immediately be ready to play in the NBA. There are certainly advantages to drafting that type of talent, but we’ll get into that later.
Meanwhile, other mocks have the Mavericks drafting domestic players who could immediately make the leap to the pro roster, although as we saw this season, Dallas has never shied away from giving their younger prospects playing time with the D-League’s Texas Legends. That’s how the Mavs handled Ricky Ledo during his rookie campaign; fellow rookies Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel also played multiple games in Frisco this season.
Regardless of which angle the Mavs approach the draft from, the most exciting thing about the 2014 Draft is that there are projected to be two rounds full of players who could eventually become role players, at worst, on an NBA team. Throughout the last 15-plus seasons, Dallas has always kept its roster full of excellent supporting players, so this draft is the perfect chance for the Mavs to add yet another effective player to its lineup. Below are the mock drafts and who Dallas is projected to draft at No. 34.
ESPN – WALTER TAVARES, C, SPAIN
This is the first example of Dallas selecting a “draft-and-stash” player. The 22-year-old Tavares stands 7′ 3″ tall with a 7′ 6″ wingspan, perfect size for the shot-blocking center he is. He already moves well for a player his size, which typically isn’t the case with younger centers taller than seven feet. However, last week he signed a three-year contract with Spanish club Gran Canaria, so whichever NBA team drafts him will either have to buy out his contract or wait for the deal to run its course. As it stands, Tavares isn’t yet quite ready for the NBA, and more playing time overseas would significantly aid his development.
Draft-and-stash players count neither against the salary cap nor toward the 15-man roster, which means Dallas would still have a roster spot and some extra cash to acquire more players this summer. The Mavs would also control the player’s rights and could therefore trade him as part of a separate deal.
CBS – BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC, SG, SERBIA & MITCH MCGARY, PF/C, MICHIGAN
CBS’s Matt Moore has Dallas drafting Bogdanovic, a 6′ 6″, 200 lb. shooting guard who is likely another draft-and-stash player. This season in the EuroLeague and Adriatic League combined he’s averaging roughly 15 points and four assists per game, plus 1.5 steals and nearly four rebounds. In addition to his ballhandling and creating skills, he’d bring with him a sweet shooting stroke — he’s hitting three-pointers at a 37-percent clip in the EuroLeague this season. While the European is unequivocally different from American basketball, a great jump shot is rarely ever lost in translation.
Meanwhile, fellow analysts Zach Harper and Gary Parrish both have the Mavs drafting Michigan’s McGary, a big man who would likely have been a lottery selection last season had he declared for the draft after an excellent run during the Wolverines’ March Madness run to the national championship game. McGary is the type of player who is always going to work harder than his opponent, cut from a similar cloth as players like DeJuan Blair and Tyler Hansbrough. Dallas has made it clear that finding a backup for Dirk Nowitzki is an offseason goal, and McGary — maybe the best true forward/center in the draft — would be an excellent addition to the team.
DRAFTEXPRESS – C.J. WILCOX, SG, WASHINGTON
Wilcox is a physical specimen, standing 6′ 5″ tall with a wingspan three inches longer. He averaged 18.3 points per game for Washington in 2013-14 and significantly increased his field goal, three-point, and free throw shooting percentages from his junior season to his senior season. He shot better than 52 percent on two-pointers this past season, scoring effectively both in the halfcourt and in transition. Washington frequently ran off-ball screens to get Wilcox open for a jump shot, and he displayed the ability to both shoot and move the ball out of those actions. He also turned it over less often and assisted on a higher volume of baskets during his senior campaign.
In addition to the players listed above, keep an eye on small forwards Glenn Robinson III and Cleanthony Early, power forward Jarnell Stokes, and centers Patric Young and Artem Klimenko. Each of those players are projected to go in that late-first, early-second range, and each would fill a need on the roster — a possible exception being Klimenko, who would likely continue his overseas career as a draft-and-stash player. It’s become clear that Dallas is going to have plenty of talented players to choose from early in the second round. And in addition to pick 34, the Mavs still have another pick at 51. Dallas has been one of the most active teams on draft night, commonly trading picks to move around in the draft and take the players they want, so don’t rule out a move, either. That’s how the team acquired rotation players like Jae Crowder and Shane Larkin in recent seasons.
Tomorrow night’s draft is bound to be an exciting evening for basketball fans across the country and world, as there are so many quality prospects this season. That works out perfectly for the Mavs, who are well-positioned to draft an impact player with value.