Prevailing wisdom suggests that the 2020 NBA draft will not be a good one, which pretty much aligns it with everything else this calendar year.
Transcendent talents are nowhere to be found. No Zions. No Lukas. At least not based on the scouting reports.
While some of the lottery picks might turn into quality NBA players, depth is lacking. Sleepers are all over the place, but picking the ones that hit will be challenging.
At least, that’s what most of the experts are whispering.
The Mavericks own the 18th overall pick in the first round and the first pick of the second round (31st overall), at the moment.
Whether or not they keep those picks – reports are persistent that they are willing to move those assets and more for immediate help – it’s clear that the Mavericks will be a team of interest throughout the NBA on draft night, Nov. 18.
And particularly so for MFFLs.
So with that in mind, we’ll offer up our four-part scouting report for draft night. We’ll tell you who the top players at each position are and what it might mean for the Mavericks.
We’ll break it down into point guards, wing players, big men and wrap it up with the Mavericks’ best options.
First up: the point guards.
This perhaps is the deepest position in the draft with as many as 10 point guards projected to go in the first round, including three who could be among the top six or seven selections.
The most intriguing player is the younger brother of Lonzo Ball, LaMelo.
LaMelo Ball is roughly the same size as his older brother, which means he’s a bit slight of build. But he has had a year’s worth of professional seasoning in the Australian league, which should help his transition to the NBA.
There were reports during the past month that Ball didn’t exactly sell himself well during individual team interviews.
Not sure what that means, if anything. Smokescreens have been known to happen in the NBA when draft time comes around. But the physical tools that the 19-year-old Ball possesses are hard to resist.
He averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League. Though he shot just 37.5 percent, those numbers are solid, especially for somebody coming to that league directly out of high school. If he improves his shot, he’ll have a chance to be the best point guard in his family.
As always, there is some baggage with the Ball family. But it hasn’t seemed to have much of an impact on Lonzo’s career thus far.
While teams at the top will have to weigh the good vs. the bad and decide just how early Ball is selected, his talent is as good as any point guard in the draft.
Which brings us to a pair of French point guards, which might immediately raise suspicions among NBA GMs. The last French point guard that came out with some renown was Frank Ntilikina, who has yet to blossom after being drafted in 2017 as the No. 8 overall pick.
Killian Hayes could go higher than that. He’s 6-5 and believed to be the better of the two French points, the other being Theo Maledon, who also is 6-5.
Hayes likely won’t last beyond the first seven picks. Maledon could sneak into the lottery, but more likely is a mid-first-rounder.
Hayes is a gifted lefty who has good touch and good instincts, but, as with most young players, must improve his shot to reach starting status in the NBA.
Maledon has similar qualities, but is woefully thin and therefore often has trouble finishing in traffic.
Another top-tier point guard is Tyrese Haliburton out of Iowa State. The extra year in college helped the sophomore develop into a wonderful all-around player and he’s probably worked his way into the top-10 of the draft.
If he had a little more muscle on his thin frame, he would be even higher.
But he’s a very smart player and rarely takes bad shots as his 50-plus-percent average last season would suggest.
If you’re looking for point-guard help for the Mavericks (last we checked, they have a pretty good one), a couple of names to remember are Tyrell Terry out of Stanford and Nico Mannion from Arizona.
Both are cerebral point guards. Mannion has the bloodlines – son of former NBA player Pace Mannion. Terry had a good freshman season at Stanford and shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range.
Again, that’s dependent on whether the Mavericks actually keep the 18th pick.
Also a possibility if they are drafting at 18? R. J. Hampton, the 6-4 product of Little Elm who spent the last season playing in New Zealand, electing to skip the college route.
Hampton possesses excellent ballhandling skills for a young player and is an aggressive attacker of the basket. Shooting? That’s something that is going to have to come with time.
And while Luka Dončić is entrenched as the Mavericks’ point man, they have learned through the years that the quarterback on the floor is one position where you can never be too well stocked.
Plus, they may not be able to lean as much on J.J. Barea or Courtney Lee going forward. That leaves Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright and, maybe, Trey Burke as the supporting point guards.
Breaking down the rookie point guards
Player Ht. Wt. Last team Projected
LaMelo Ball 6-8 180 Illawarra (Australia) Top five
Killian Hayes 6-5 195 Ulm (Germany) Top 10
Tyrese Halliburton 6-5 185 Iowa St. Top 10
Theo Maledon 6-5 175 Asvel (France) 1st round
Tyrell Terry 6-3 160 Stanford 1st round
R.J. Hampton 6-4 175 Breakers (N. Zeal) 1st round
Cole Anthony 6-3 185 North Carolina 1st round
Nico Mannion 6-3 190 Arizona 1st round
Kira Lewis 6-3 175 Alabama 1st round
Malachi Flynn 6-2 175 San Diego St. 1st round