|Although Dallas is again in the lottery, this time they actually look like a team on the rise. They are represented this year by Matt Welker who uses the 12th and final lottery pick on:|
Dallas Mavericks Team Report 2000 by Matt Welker
What a difference a year makes. In 1999, the Dallas Mavericks seemed the Clippers only rival for worst franchise of the 90's. Now a Cuban and a baker's dozen of assistant coaches later, the Mavs finished the season at 40-42 (31-19 after Cuban met with the team) are brimming with hope. Of course, they're capped out and may or may not get an impact player at #12, but where there's a will (and $2 billion); there's a way.
Centers-We'll start with the bad news. Remember last year when Shawn "Death Stick" Bradley finally went to Pete Newell's Big Man Camp, and Pete spoke about all of his potential and all of his skill? Apparently, Shawn has a mental block because his ability certainly doesn't translate well to his performance on the floor. Retrieving Sean "12th Man" Rooks from the Lakers didn't exactly solve the problem. The good news is that John "Hot Rod" Williams may be having career ending back surgery.
Forwards-Now for the good news. Quick-name all the teams with two all-star caliber players . . . they're all playoff teams, right? Enter Dirk Nowitzke and Michael Finley. Improved health will really bolster this group as Cedric Ceballos is capable of being a scoring machine when not in a cast or on Lake Havasu and Gary Trent can be the rebounding tough guy so desperately needed in the Western Conference if he doesn't wear himself out in the weight room. Greg Buckner has shown signs of having some staying power at the NBA level as well. It's also good news that Leon Smith and Dennis "The Worm" Rodman weren't around long enough to have a lasting negative impact.
Guards-Now for the so-so news. Steve Nash is a decent point guard but not a star. If the Mavs can add one more scorer, that's all he needs to be. Erick Strickland has really come on as a combo guard, living up to the potential Nellie saw in him. Whatever happened to Robert Pack? Once a fine player, injuries etc. have limited his minutes. The Mavs would love to trade at least one of these guys. Hubert Davis is a free agent and an excellent shooter whom the Mavs will likely resign, unless they draft a two guard.
Coach/GM-What can you say about Don Nelson? Obviously a brilliant basketball mind, he has also demonstrated himself to be a bit of a, let's say, Maverick. Now that he is no longer grooming Donnie to replace him and the team went 9-1 in April he has regained some of his legitimacy. The players seem to be behind him, and owner Mark Cuban just signed him to a long-term deal. You know that Nellie wants to wow people with his skills as GM by pulling off a big deal, but it may not be possible. Nellie has always been a good judge of talent (with the exception of Clifford Rozier). The problem wasn't that he failed to identify Chris Webber as a talented player, just that he gave too much to get him and then they couldn't get along. Drafting the best player available and getting a veteran to add depth with the $2.5 million exception may be enough to get this team to the next level. I have a suggestion. How about Pack and Bradley to the Jazz for Eisley and Ostertag. Both centers suck, but at least Bradley would help them sell some tickets in his home state of Utah.
The Draft-To sum up the Mavs' recent draft
1995 - Cherokee Parks #12. Woops. They did eventually get Finley, who was drafted #21.
1996 - Samaki Walker #8. A very poor man's C-Web. Nash went to Phoenix at #15.
1997 - Kelvin Cato #15, traded to Portland for Chris Antsey and cash. Woops. Pre-Cuban deal.
1998 - Tractor Traylor #6, traded for Dirk Nowitzke #9. Hip hip hooray!
1999 - #9 traded to Phoenix as part of Steve Nash deal. Used to select Shawn Marion. Ouch.
Out of courtesy, I've left out the ghosts of Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn, and Jim Jackson.
In this order, the players I would draft for the Mavs are:
Marcus Fizer - What's that? He went nine picks ago? Get on the phone, Nellie.
Courtney Alexander - His personal problems are child's play compared to Leon Smith's. If he slides, the Mavericks will become the highest scoring team in the league.Olumide Oyediji - What's that? He went six picks ago? Is he another Hakeem?
Keyon Dooling - If I can't have the next Hakeem, I'll take the next Stevie Francis.
DeShawn Stevenson - We'd like another Kobe, but need a player who can help now.Iakovo Tsakalidis - He's big and he's foreign, but he's no Wang Zhi-Zhi or Yao Ming.
Erick Barkley - But that would be admitting I made a mistake to get Steve Nash.
Hanno Möttölä - Plays similar style as Dirk. May still be there at #31 (2nd Round).
My Selection - Keyon Dooling
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