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Draft night is always exciting. Whether you’re at a draft party with friends, following it on the radio or geeking out at home with your stat sheets and mock drafts, it’s always a night Dallas Mavericks fans look forward to.
The 2014 NBA draft is scheduled for June 26 and there was a collective sigh when the realization hit that the Mavs don’t own a pick in the first round. Instead, they have two picks in the second. But wait, before you allow indifference to set in, let’s take a look back at what Dallas has done with second round picks in the past.
The fun starts in the Mavericks’ second draft as a franchise — when they landed both Jay Vincent and Elston Turner in round two. Vincent spent five seasons in Dallas and was Rookie of the Year runner-up in ’81-82, averaging 21.4 points and 7.0 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 forward was a member of Dallas’ first three playoff teams and scored 6,464 points in his Mavericks career.
Turner, a 6-foot-5 guard from Mississippi, was a defensive specialist and one of head coach Dick Motta’s favorite players. He spent a total of eight seasons in the NBA (three with Dallas) and went on to become an assistant coach in the league.
1983 brought Mark West to the Mavs. Always looking for a good big man, West was a 6-foot-10 center from Old Dominion. Despite only spending one year in Dallas, he had an incredibly productive career playing with seven teams over 17 seasons and seeing action in over 1000 games.
Few second-round picks have come out as highly regarded at 1987’s Steve Alford. The 6-foot-2 guard from Indiana spent four seasons in Dallas and is currently a successful college basketball head coach.
The following season brought another guard Dallas’ way. Morlon Wiley spent all or part of four years with the Mavs, a total of seven in the NBA, and went on to be an assistant coach in the league after his playing career was over.
Donald Hodge came to Dallas in 1991. A 7-foot center from Temple, Hodge saw action with two teams over five years in the league, four of them with the Mavericks.
Another second-round pick joined Hodge on the Mavs that year. 5-foot-10 guard Mike Iuzzolino played in Dallas for two years and his .404 shooting percentage from beyond the arc was a franchise top 10 all-time when he retired.
Dallas was excited to land 6-foot-10 center Sean Rooks from Arizona in the 1992 draft. He proved them right by playing 749 games in his 12-year NBA career. Seeing action with seven teams (three seasons in Big D), Rooks accumulated over 2800 career rebounds and almost 500 blocked shots.
1993 was the third straight year that a second-round selection made the squad. 6-foot-5 guard Lucious Harris was with the Mavericks for three seasons but spent a total of 12 years in the NBA with four different teams. Playing over 800 career games, he had over 500 steals and helped lead his teams to the playoffs four times including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances.
Finally, a name familiar to all Mavs fans. Greg Buckner was selected in 1998 and was with Dallas for four seasons. He spent 10 years in the league with five different teams and appeared in the NBA Playoffs in six of those seasons. The 6-foot-4 guard from Clemson joined the ranks of former picks as an assistant coach after retiring.
Of course there were others. Charlie Sitton and Tom Sluby were both selected in the second round in 1984 and each spent one season with the team. Mark Price was chosen in 1986 out of Georgia Tech and was a four-time All-Star with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bubba Wells, a 6-foot-5 guard from Austin Peay, only spent one season in the league after being selected in 1997. His career was short-lived but he continues to be remembered for holding the NBA record for quickest disqualification due to personal fouls. On Dec. 29, 1997, Wells was instructed by head coach Don Nelson to foul Chicago’s Dennis Rodman every time he touched the ball. In just three minutes, Wells fouled out and broke an NBA record that had previously stood for 41 years.
Dallas has also been known to look at foreign players with their second-round picks. Croatian Bruno Sundov was drafted in 1998. He played parts of seven seasons in the league and the following year, Wang Zhi Zhi came over from China. Wang saw action in five NBA seasons. Both players were with Dallas for two years.
The point here is not to worry about where Dallas is drafting on June 26. Sure it would be nice to have a couple of first-round picks and see them the next morning on SportsCenter. But the second round can provide depth. As an example, just look at the Mavs’ current roster. One-third of the team consists of second-round draft selections. DeJuan Blair, Jae Crowder, Monta Ellis, Bernard James and Ricky Ledo all heard their name called in the second round.
Don’t count Dallas out of anything. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson may still have some tricks up their sleeves come draft night. But for now, if things remain status quo, the fun for Mavs’ fans will begin when the first round ends. And what fun it might be!