Mavericks win draft tiebreaker draw, hold third position in pre-lottery draft order

The Mavs won today’s draft tiebreaker by random draw and now sit third place in the pre-lottery draft order.

Both Dallas and Atlanta finished with a 24-58 record this season, tied for third-fewest in the NBA. The two teams will split the difference between the third- and fourth-place odds in the draft lottery, which will take place next month. Today’s draw was to determine pre-lottery draft order.

Dallas has a 13.8 percent chance to win the No. 1 overall pick, while Atlanta will have a nearly identical 13.7 percent chance. Both teams will have roughly a 42 percent chance at a top-three pick. (The randomized lottery drawing only determines the order for the first three picks in the draft.)

The draw had little to do with odds related to winning the lottery, but there is a significant benefit to winning in case teams behind them in the lottery order get lucky on May 15. If neither Dallas nor Atlanta wins a top-three pick, the Mavericks will pick before Atlanta on draft night. The Mavs now have a 95 percent chance to pick somewhere in the top-five and will pick no lower than sixth. Atlanta, meanwhile, will pick no lower than seventh. For a better visualization of the odds, see the chart below from the Hawks’ KL Chouinard.

By virtue of losing the pre-lottery tiebreaker, Atlanta will choose third in the second round, or 33rd overall. Dallas will select fourth that round, or 34th overall. The Mavericks also acquired Portland’s second-round pick via Denver in the three-way trade for Doug McDermott, which will fall 54th overall.

The draft lottery takes place in New York on May 15.

Above & Beyond for Military Families

DALLAS – At a recent Dallas Mavericks home game, Major Dan Rooney was emotional as he explained why he owes the Dallas Mavericks a debt of gratitude.

Rooney is the founder of Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization which provides educational scholarships to families of military men and women who have been killed or disabled while on active duty in the United States armed forces.

Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch recently challenged the nearly two dozen NBA teams that they’ve partnered with to manufacture creative ways to raise funds for those scholarships. And the Mavs wound up raising more money ($18,064) than any other team.

For their efforts, the Mavs were awarded a trophy by Anheuser-Busch during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles last month.

“We wanted to support (Folds of Honor) as best we can, but we didn’t really know where all the teams would fall,” said Kory Nix, director of corporate sponsorship for the Mavs. “At the end of the day we ended up being the No. 1 team out of all of them, as far as fundraising goes.”

“So when we went to All-Star, they brought us up in front of all of the other teams and gave us an award for winning the most fundraising, so that was cool.”

It was also cool, Nix said, that the Mavs received an additional prestigious trophy from Folds of Honor for going above and beyond the call of duty in helping the military families.

“There are a lot of great Americans here that understand that freedom isn’t free, and having the Mavericks step up and coach (Rick Carlisle) and (owner) Mark (Cuban) and the whole organization, it’s just awesome,” Rooney said. “I think like most things in life you can’t control the outcome, but you can make sure you’re in the fight.”

“And we will continue to be in the fight on behalf of what’s now almost 1.5 million dependents – spouses and kids that have had somebody killed or disabled just in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of them don’t get any federal education assistance, so that’s where Folds of Honor comes in and making sure that we’re taking care of these families, and we’re blessed to have a growing partnership with the NBA and the Mavericks are leading that charge.”

David Craig, the regional vice-president of sales for Anheuser-Busch, also gave high marks to the Mavs for reaching out and assisting those in need.

“The Mavericks stepped up and in typical Dallas fashion, Mark and the team have done an amazing job in terms of supporting the organization,” Craig said. “We couldn’t be more proud to have a partner like the Mavericks associated with us and the Folds of Honor.”

“Dallas set the bar. The opportunity to profile that is an opportunity for us to show what the people in Dallas did and how big a heart we have here and everything the Mavericks have done to support a great cause.”

Overall, the Mavs partnered with Anheuser-Busch, Levy Concessionaires, Ben E. Keith Distributors and Folds of Honor to help raise awareness, promote local events and raise funds for Folds of Honor. For example, portions of the sales of Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Light at American Airlines Center during the month of November went to the Folds of Honor project.

Also, at a recent Folds of Honor gala, the Mavs gave them several items to auction, including an autographed Dirk Nowitzki jersey that he wore in a game, a VIP Ticket Experience and a Suite Night Experience.

“It was a Budweiser initiative and all of their member teams participated and we ended up raising more money than any other team in the NBA and thus we got the award,” said George Killebrew, the executive vice-president of corporate sponsorship for the Mavs. “We don’t win a lot of things these days, so when we were out at the All-Star game they gave us a big award and a big trophy and they sent us this really nice plaque that’s in the office.”

“Kory Nix handles the Budweiser account and he kind of made it his pet project to make sure that we did everything we could to win. And so when we were out in LA for All-Star, he accepted the award on behalf of the Mavericks because he really did all the work.”

Rooney, an F-16 pilot fighter in the Oklahoma Air National Guard who served three tours of duty in Iraq, is appreciative of the job the Mavs did in beating out their NBA counterparts for the coveted trophy.

“These scholarships honor the sacrifice that was made by their parents, and that is such a powerful thing,” Rooney said. “How quickly we forget in this here-today-gone-tomorrow world that we live in to recognize that freedom isn’t free and these families have paid a huge sacrifice for the freedoms that we all enjoy, and the least we can do is make sure they can pursue the American dream.”

“Our scholarships are $5,000 a piece for the spouses and children of the vets that were killed or disabled defending our freedoms. This money raised by the Mavericks is going to help Texas families who have paid the ultimate sacrifices for the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.”

Mavs saw improvement throughout the season, but know there is still plenty of work still to be done

Exit Interview Highlights

Check out what the players, Rick Carlisle, and Donnie Nelson had to say at exit interviews!

DALLAS – As the Dallas Mavericks venture into their second consecutive offseason without a playoff berth, the stern message from coach Rick Carlisle to his players and coaching staff during Wednesday’s exit interviews was direct and to the point.

“We’ve got to get better,” Carlisle said. “Everyone has to get better – players, coaches. It’s a big summer for us with the draft and free agency.

“Make no mistake, we made a lot of progress in a lot of areas this year. A lot of individual guys got better.”

Still, the Mavs finished the season with a 24-58 record – or 23 games away from the last Western Conference playoff spot. And Carlisle knows that’s not good enough, especially with the winning culture the Mavs are accustomed to.

“When you’re at 24 wins and you look at the Western Conference standings and the teams that are fighting for the eighth position are at 47 or 48 wins, there’s a long ways to go,” Carlisle said. “So we’re going to have to have a great summer in all areas and we’re going to have to come back real strong.”

Forward Dirk Nowitzki announced Tuesday that he plans to return next year for his 21st season. Meanwhile, point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who finished his solid rookie season with averages of 15.2 points and 5.2 assists in 29.7 minutes, has his sights set squarely on being a postseason participant next season.

“I think we’ll get in next season,” said Smith, who was the ninth overall pick of last year’s NBA Draft. “That’s the goal. Everybody’s looking forward to next year and we don’t want to be out at this time next year.

“I want to keep playing and make it to the postseason. That’s the goal for next year.”

Forward Harrison Barnes said it’s imperative that the Mavs find a way to punch their playoff ticket next season. Anything else, Barnes insist, is not an option.

“We have to get better,” said Barnes, who averaged a team-high 18.9 points this season. “We had a lot of guys who were here two years ago and we kind of had that progress, and then this year we weren’t able to build from there.

“So coming off this season we can’t have another 24 (win) postseason-less season.”

Fortunately for the Mavs, the odds are stacked in their favor that they’ll have at least a Top 5 pick in the NBA Draft, which will be held June 21. And depending on how lucky the Mavs fare, they could land the No. 1 overall pick when the NBA Draft Lottery takes place on May 15.

Add that high draft pick and a quality free agent, and the Mavs believe they’ll be right back in the playoff conversation as soon as next year.

“I believe that we’re going to get a pick higher than what I was last year,” Smith said. “It’s a really good draft class (with) some good young guys in college right now.

“So if we can bring one of them in, I just look forward to a big year next year. Bring some more swag in, so it should be exciting.”

Asked to explain what is swag, Smith said: “Some energy, some confidence. You’ve got to have something to you. Look good, feel good, play good.”

Looking, feeling and playoff good are also attributes Barnes cooked up for the Mavs for next season.

“We made some progress, but at the end of the day our season has to show up in the wins and losses column,” Barnes said. That’s what’s got to be our next step.

“We now have had two years of good effort, so close, building and those types of things, but eventually it’s going to have to start trending upward. Building processes are tough. There’s no easy way around that, but to hopefully cut down in that time where you’re going from competing to rebuilding is how much we can improve individually this offseason.”

General manager Donnie Nelson drew a parallel between what’s transpiring with the Mavs now and what occurred two decades ago and acknowledged that the glass is again overwhelmingly half-full.

“Ironically, 20 years ago when we first got here to start building this thing it started with a point guard (in Steve Nash), it started with Michael Finley, which is our modern day Harrison Barnes, and it started with a floppy-haired German (in Dirk Nowitzki) that ended up being pretty good,” Nelson said. “The excitement of the future of this year ‘s draft, Dennis Smith, Harrison, young building blocks as well as Dwight Powell and some of our other young players that are fighting for roster minutes and rotational minutes, is an exciting part of the franchise moving forward.”

Finley joined the Mavs in a Dec. 26, 1996 trade that involved sending Jason Kidd to the Phoenix Suns. And the Mavs acquired Nowitzki and Nash on draft day trades on June 24, 1998.

Once that particular rebuilding process was complete, the Mavs advanced to the playoffs 15 out of 16 years from 2001-’16. Fast forward to today, that’s the same path management sees the Mavs traveling starting next season.

“We do not want to go back to what we just experienced,” Nelson said. “That’s unanimous from the top on down.

“When you go through re-tooling or rebuilding situations like we’re going through now, it’s done with the right people (and) it’s done with the right character pieces.”

Guard Wesley Matthews was adamant about the challenges facing the Mavs next season, saying, “We’ve all got to look in the mirror and get back in the gym, get back to work — top to bottom. And make a stand right now and say that we’re not going to have this kind of conversation next year.”

Live: 2017-18 Exit Interviews

Dirk announces plan to return for 21st season

2017-18 Exit Interview: Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki dishes on the season, his summer plans and more.

DALLAS – With a keen eye on getting the Dallas Mavericks back on a championship path, Dirk Nowitzki announced Tuesday that he’ll return next season to play a 21st season with the Mavs.

Nowitzki underwent left ankle surgery last Thursday with the sole purpose of being ready to play again with no problems by the time training camp starts next fall.

“That’s why I went ahead and got the surgery to kind of get the whole process started, get the rehab process started early, and I plan on coming back,” Nowitzki said during a packed press conference at American Airlines Center. “I didn’t really miss a lot of games this year (and) I felt fine most of the time.

“I always said all year that I want to fulfill that two-year contract if possible. I saw nothing this year that was going to stop it, so as of now I’ll see how the rehab goes in the next few weeks and how the ankle responds, but obviously I’m going to work towards another season.”

Nowitzki’s announcement came prior to Tuesday’s Phoenix Suns-Mavs game, and it put coach Rick Carlisle at ease to know that he’ll again be drawing up plays for the greatest player in Mavs history.

“I couldn’t imagine being here and Dirk not being here, so I feel very relieved that its looking like he’ll be back,” Carlisle said. “It’s great news.

“The timing of everything makes perfect sense to him and to all of us. He’s been able to play with the ankle, but it’s just bothered him for the last several years is what my understanding of it is.”

Nowitzki, who signed a two-year contract with the Mavs last summer, didn’t even rule out the distinct possibility of playing another season past next season.

“I’m hoping the ankle will be tons better than this year and then I’m hoping that I can play some decent basketball next year and then kind of go from there,” Nowitzki said. “I always kind of leave the end open.

“It’s hard for me, at this point, to commit farther than one year, or one year is it. I just kind of want to see how it goes. I’m hoping that this ankle will give me a lot of relief next year and then we’ll go from there.”

Nowitzki is currently wearing a walking boot and also walked into the press conference with the help of crutches. He said he’ll be in the boot from three-to-four weeks.

Then, the recovery period and rehab will start in earnest.

“Like I said, that’s also a reason I went ahead and got a head start on it,” Nowitzki said. “At my age, of course the recovery takes a little longer, and I had bone spurs taken out of this ankle early in my career.

“I think maybe after my third or fourth year in the league, so it’s been a long, long time and the recovery, I’m guessing, was a little shorter. Now I’ve just got to be smart, take my time.”

Time is indeed of essence for Nowitzki, who holds nearly all of the Mavs’ major franchise records. He even said he’ll come off the bench next seaosn if that helps the Mavs become more efficient.

“I’m hoping to get out of the boot in a few weeks and then start slowly rehabbing every day, getting some more motion back,” he said. “And the rest will be all summer working out and getting back to where I want to be strength-wise and agility-wise, and afterwards obviously basketball-wise. So it’s going to be a long process, it’s going to be a summer with some frustrations here and there, as I’m sure some things just don’t progress like you want at 40. But I’m willing to fight through it and give it another shot.”

In 77 games for the Mavs this season, Nowitzki averaged 12 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.7 minutes, and shot 45.6 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range. Not bad for a guy who turns 40 on June 19.

“I played with (Larry) Bird in Boston and I coached Reggie Miller and Ben Wallace and a lot of guys that had a reputation for being mentally tough,” Carlisle said. “Dirk’s right up there with any of them.

“He played hurt an awful lot in his career, probably has played injured at times. Some athletes just have a different sort of threshold for those kinds of things. Any time there’s an opportunity to relief some of that, that’s great.”

That relief, thanks to the surgery, has Nowitzki thinking like he was still the 19-year old kid the Mavs acquired in a draft-day trade in June of 1998. However, as reality sunk in, Nowitzki knew he couldn’t continue doing the same thing on the same weak ankle and expecting different results.

Thus, surgery was imminent.

“At times I was limited in a lot of my movements, especially,” Nowitzki said. “I was never a great lateral movement guy in my entire career in my 20s, but at times this year it was just non-existent.

“It was frustrating at times, but I kept fighting through it and I wanted to fight through it, and now at the end I had actually some knee problems there the last few weeks, I had some problems with the ankle. So that’s when we decided to go ahead and do the surgery earlier.”

Game 82: Mavs vs. Suns

Finney-Smith Slams The Oop

Kyle Collinsworth throws it up to Dorian Finney-Smith to throw down the alley-oop slam.

Mavs to host fantastic finale

The Dallas Mavericks will host a FANtastic Finale tomorrow night during the Mavs vs. Suns game at American Airlines Center. Doors open at 6:00pm and tipoff is at 7:30pm. This special final game will salute the MFFLs who cheer on the Mavs all season long with an exclusive pregame event for Season Ticket Holders. Giveaways and plenty of fun!

MFFL FANTASTIC FINALE EVENTS AND EXCLUSIVES:

  • Mavs Full Season Ticket Holders are invited for an exclusive pre-game happy hour at 6:00pm in the EIGHTEEN|76 Bar at American Airlines Center. Mavs will showcase the new Ripples Beer Foam Printer for the first time in Dallas. Each Season Ticket Holder in attendance will receive a free Budweiser Mavs Hat and One (1) Free 12oz Budweiser draft with choice of Mavs logo on the top of each beer. Media is invited to attend—RSVP is required. Limited availability – first-come, first-served.
  • Join the Mavs for Mavs Q, the first live and in-app trivia game in the NBA. FOX Sports Southwest Analyst Jeff “Skin” Wade will shell out 12 questions in arena for a chance to win upgraded seats for the game, autographed merch and floor seats for a game during the 2018-2019 Season. To play, fans should download the Mavs app. Trivia starts promptly at 6:30pm.
  • All fans in attendance will receive a FREE Mavs cap courtesy of Sprite upon entry.
  • All fans in attendance will receive a SPECIAL EDITION T-SHIRT featuring “Dallas For Dirk” courtesy of 5miles. The t-shirt was designed by local artists Reid Glaze and Hance Talpin in honor of Dirk’s 20th Season with the Dallas Mavericks. Find more of their designs at thanksdirk.com.
  • 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Mavs Team Poster courtesy of Century 21 Mike Bowman.
  • 1 lucky Season Ticket Holder and 1 lucky fan will have a chance to win a 2018 Ford Escape Titanium (Estimated MSRP $32,140) by participating in a half-court shot contest during half-time. To register to win, visit mavs.com/winaford before 3pm today.
  • 1 Lucky Mavs fan will take to the Mavs Hangar with 1 minute to grab as much gear as they can in the Mavs Hangar Super Market Sweep Presented by NIKE. The winner will be selected from a pool of fans that have connected to their Nike Mavs Jerseys via the Nike Connect app.
  • Panini will give away 20K Mavs Trading Card Packs at doors and Chris Arnold will give away (2) Framed Autographed Pictures of Dennis Smith Jr. during the pre-game show and the game.
  • WhichWich will give away 10K special edition Dirk Nowitzki cups in honor of the DirkWich promotion. Each cup with have a coupon for a FREE 32oz drink with purchase of a DirkWich at participating stores.