DALLAS — It’s been well documented.
The last player selected with the No. 13 pick in the NBA Draft to eventually become an All-Star: Kobe Bryant. But, for every Marcus Haislip, Sean May and Julian Wright since Bryant was taken in the 1996 draft there’s also been the likes of Corey Maggette, Richard Jefferson and Thabo Sefolosha, all veterans that have found a way to make positive impacts in the league.
Tuesday, with just a 2.2 percent chance of moving into the top three picks of the lottery and only a 0.6 chance of claiming the top overall pick, the Mavericks learned that they would indeed be drafting at selection No. 13. And while rumors circulate that the Mavs might look to shop the pick in hopes of freeing up more cap space this summer to land a big-time free agent, there also figures to be value if the Dallas front office does look to use the pick.
“My guess is we’ll be as aggressive, if not more so, than we’ve ever been,” Mavs president of basketball operations and GM Donnie Nelson said during his exit interview on April 18. “Whether that’s us drafting, acquiring, free agency or trade, we will turn over every rock. Believe me.”
The Mavericks haven’t selected in the lottery since taking Etan Thomas with the 12th selection in the 2000 draft. They also have plenty of roster spots to fill with currently only veterans Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter and a trio of rookies under contract for next season. Still, with their eyes on improving a team that is two seasons removed from winning the championship, the Mavs’ brass will have plenty of decisions to make leading up to the draft on June 27.
“You know, if you look at the history of drafts, which I have in the last couple of weeks, and if you look at the last 10 drafts, there’s a history of being multiple guys 13 and below that turn out to be really good, solid, long-term NBA players. So, you know, there’s value in this draft. Our job is to find it,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said last week in an interview with Mavs.com at the combine in Chicago.
He added: “There’s a lot of depth at each position in the draft. It appears that power forward has the least number of total players and good players, so the other four positions you’re going to find guys that are capable. And again, it’s whatever your specific needs are and it’s can you find the guy that fits in with what you have. In our case, you know, we have seven open roster spaces at least, so we’re going to be an attractive place for draft choices and free agents.”