With the 36th
and second to last pick in the Usenet Mock draft
we have the Dallas Mavericks and GM David Colborne.
Dallas' pick was traded to Orlando for Corey
Alexander. David selects:
Morris, SF, 6'9", Maryland
Finally, the Mavs have come back to the playoffs. Now, thanks to Mark Cuban's millions, they have enough talent to compete, proven by their series victory over the Jazz. Unfortunately, the recent moves that built the Mavs up to this level have handcuffed them for the future. Dallas is well over the cap, thanks to Juwon Howard's fat contract. They are also without a first-round pick from the deal to get Courtney Alexander, who is no longer with the team. Most of the future development will need to come from the development of the existing talent. However, there is a lot of potential on the bench, so all is not lost.
Current Team by Position
- Shawn Bradley, 7.4 RPG, 2.8 BPG, 7-6, 263 lbs, 3-22-72
- Calvin Booth, 17 MPG, 2.0 BPG, 6-11, 241 lbs, 5-7-76
- Mark Bryant, 10 MPG, 21 Games, 6-9, 250 lbs, 4-25-65
The center position for Dallas is not asked to do a lot. Rebound and play defense. That's about all. If that is all you ask of Shawn Bradley, he'll be one of the best. Just accept the fact that he will never be worthy of the second pick in the draft. Word has it that the Mavs were really hot to get Calvin Booth in the Juwon Howard deal. If nothing else, he'll go down as the guy who hit the shot to beat the Jazz. Mark Bryant was a veteran brought in to provide maturity to a young team in their first playoff run, and to provide a little frontcourt toughness.
- Juwon Howard, 18.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 6-9, 250 lbs, 2-7-73
- Gary Trent, 33 GP, 2.8 RPG, 6-8, 250 lbs, 9-22-74
- Obinna Ekezie, 34 GP, 2.3 RPG, 6-9, 270 lbs, 8-22-75
- Donnell Harvey, 18 GP, 57% FGP, 6-8, 216 lbs, 8-26-80
- Wang Zhi-Zhi, 5 GP, .63 PPM, 7-0, 260 lbs, 1-8-77
With the addition of Juwon Howard, this adds another weapon to the Mavericks offense, taking some of the pressure off of Michael and Dirk. Juwon showed, when he played alongside Chris Webber, that he is an excellent NBA talent when he is not asked to be the primary option. Cuban is one of the few owners in the league willing to take on a contract like Howard's. As you can see by the games played statistics associated with the other power forwards, there is a significant drop-off after Howard. If you look back at my 1999 review of the Mavs, Gary Trent was the man. Unfortunately, injuries have dominated his last two seasons. If they had Trent last year, the Mavs would have been even better. A healthy Trent next year will lock down all of the available minutes. Ekezie is a solid player, but does not possess starter talent. That leaves two intriguing prospects. Donnell Harvey has a knack for rebounding that made him a first rounder last year. He is a bit undersized and devoid of any offense, so his rebounding had better be all that's advertised. Wang Zhi-Zhi signed at the end of the season with enormous fanfare. With only 38 minutes, it's tough to gage his ability from last year's performance, but he does appear to be able to score in this league. This season will go a long way towards estimating his skills on the NBA level. Recent rumors are circulating about his availability for next year, so his status is up in the air.
- Dirk Nowitzki, 21.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 7-0, 250 lbs, 6-19-78
- Eduardo Najera, 52.3% FGP, 2.4 RPG, 6-8, 240 lbs, 7-11-76
Attention, NBA. Dirk Nowitzki is an all-star. Michael Finley got the nod this season, but that was mostly payback for the years that he starred for a losing team. But from now on, Dirk will be an All-Star Game regular. Now I will admit, I was disappointed when the Mavs dealt the bruiser that they needed (Robert Traylor) for a finesse seven-footer. But Nellie had this one pegged. This past season, Dirk had the unique situation of leading his team in rebounding AND three-pointers. His performance in the final game against the Spurs showed anyone who hadn't been paying attention that he is one of the next young superstars. His inclusion on the All-NBA third team was the final honor. Eduardo Najera was a second-round public relations pick, obtained by swapping selections with the Houston Rockets. His primary job was to bring in the Hispanic community, but he brought much more. He comes into games with intensity and grit, and attacks with a blue-collar attitude. Players like Najera will always have a place in the NBA. Successful teams are filled with them.
- Michael Finley, 21.8 PPG, 3443 MP (lead league), 6-7, 215 lbs, 3-6-73
- Greg Buckner, 6.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6-4, 210 lbs, 9-16-76
- Vernon Maxwell, 4.7 PPG, 34 3PT, 6-4, 190 lbs, 9-12-65
Make no mistake. Michael Finley is the franchise. Of the players acquired from the dispersal of the 3 J's, Finley is the success story. As I said above, Michael Finley has played at an all-star level for the last few years. It took a winning team record to get him the credit he deserved. Here's the bad news. He plays more minutes than anyone in the league. His fatigue really showed in the playoffs. Now that the Mavs are at the stage of development where they can anticipate making the playoffs, they need to find a way to have Finley fresh for the spring. Greg Buckner is another effort player, more like a small SF rather than a true 2 guard. He plays strong when Finley sits of the Mavs go small. Vernon Maxwell was the backcourt equivalent of Mark Bryant. Mad Max was a veteran mercenary brought in for leadership and consistency down the stretch.
- Steve Nash, 7.3 APG, 89.5% FTP, 6-3, 195 lbs, 2-7-74
- Howard Eisley, 9.0 PPG, 1.2 SPG, 6-2, 180 lbs, 12-4-72
The most solid position on the team. Steve Nash has established himself as a top-flight point guard. With weapons like Nowitzki and Finley, he operates the Mavs' offense like an old-west gunslinger. He is showing the skills that had people labeling him the next John Stockton. Now the first round pick that the Mavs sent to the Suns seem like the bargain of a lifetime. Howard Eisley was brought in last year as a free agent acquisition. He went from being the backup to John Stockton to backing up the heir apparent. Bringing in a player of Eisley's caliber allows for no drop-off when Nash goes to the bench. Eisley, second on the team in three-pointers, add a deep threat as well. Recent rumors have the Mavericks looking at Tim Hardaway, so Eisley may become expendable.
- Michael Finley - An absolute must re-sign. He opted out of his existing deal which would have paid him 9.6M and should be inked for maximum.
- Shawn Bradley - Unless some team comes out of the woodwork with a big bag of money, the Mavs should be able to bring back Bradley.
- Gary Trent - There is some talk of Trent going elsewhere, but there was a clear Joe Smith type deal involved when Trent signed his existing deal. Nellie should stand by his word and reward Trent with a new contract.
- Calvin Booth - As I said earlier, the Mavs are high on Booth. Re-sign.
- Mark Bryant - Thanks for the memories.
- Obinna Ekezie - Who knows, who cares? He's way down the depth chart anyway.
- Vernon Maxwell - See ya.
- #12 Etan Thomas (1st round)
- #31 Dan Langhi (2nd round) (draft day multi-trade to Orlando along with Dallas' 2001 lottery protected 1st round draft pick and $3 million for the rights to #13 Courtney Alexander; Orlando sent #31 to the LA Clippers as part of a trade; the LA Clippers sent #31 back to Dallas with Eric Murdock for Sean Rooks; Dallas then sent the rights to #31 Dan Langhi to Houston for the rights to #38 Eduardo Najera and a 2nd round draft pick in 2001)
- #58 Pete Mickeal (2nd round) (draft day trade to New York along with Erick Strickland for the rights to #22 Donnell Harvey and John Wallace)
- #36 Wang Zhi-Zhi (2nd round)
- #40 Gordan Giricek (2nd round) (draft day trade to San Antonio for the rights to #29 Leon Smith and Dallas' 2000 2nd round draft pick)
- #6 Robert Traylor (1st round) (draft day trade to Milwaukee for the rights to #9 Dirk Nowitzki and the rights to #19 Pat Garrity - who was then traded to Phoenix along with Bubba Wells, Martin Muursepp, and Dallas' 1999 1st round pick for Steve Nash)
- #30 Ansu Sesay (2nd round)
- #35 Bruno Sundov (2nd round)
- #53 Greg Buckner (2nd round)
- #15 Kelvin Cato (1st round) (draft day trade to Portland for the rights to #18 Chris Anstey and $500,000)
- #35 Bubba Wells (2nd round)
- #9 Samaki Walker (1st round)
- #34 Shawn Harvey (2nd round)
- #58 Darnell Robinson (2nd round)
- #12 Cherokee Parks (1st round)
- #24 Loren Meyer (1st round)
Morris, SF, 6'9", Maryland
The Usenet Mavericks select Terence Morris from the University of Maryland. The thought here is simple. Best available player. If there had been the right 2-guard on the board, then that's the way I would have gone. But, in Morris, we are looking at a player who would have been a lottery pick a couple of years ago. He has not developed much in the last two seasons, which leads many to believe that his "potential" from his sophomore year will never be realized. The one thing he has shown the basketball world is that, when the going gets tough, Morris disappears. Hopefully his plummeting draft stock will be the wake-up call he needs and lights a fire in him.
Other Players Considered
Wow, what a run on off-guards. I had a list of possibly draftees, and I watched them fly off the board one at a time. If I know Nellie, his draft board is full of guys that none of us have ever seen play, guys with 17 consonants and one vowel in their name. Nellie is talking about developing Zhi-Zhi, so whoever he selects may be sent to Europe for seasoning. Or asked to stay in Europe. That said, here are the other players I considered:
Jeryl Sasser - The Mavs would like to see Sasser fall. Sasser is a hometown guy who played at SMU with good size for an NBA guard. I had him pegged for my selection from the moment I got the GM's job.
Jeff Trepagnier - Word has it that his shot is improving. His athleticism is beyond question. But like Sasser, gone by the time I got here.
Kenny Gregory - Another fantastic athlete like Trepagnier. He tried this season to show that he could knock down the long-range shot, but only ended up proving that he can't. At this point in the draft, he is the best 2-guard left on the board.
Nate James - A proven winner who is willing to do whatever to help his team win. A top ten player out of high school, he came off the bench to help Duke win the 2001 national championship. Unfortunately, the Mavs already have an identical player in Greg Buckner.
Mladen Sekularac / Carlos Delfino - Foreigners who I know very little about, but with Nellie's track record, these names are guys who might be able to come over in a few years, when roster space opens up.
What the Mavericks will do
Word out of Dallas has the Mavericks very casual regarding this year's draft. With picks so late in the draft, who knows? It's tough enough to figure Nellie out normally. I gave up after I heard Rod Thorn say "Wang Zhi-Zhi". With their salary cap exception, they should go after a shooting guard who will accept a little less. Aaron McKie won't take it, but Kendall Gill might. Felipe Lopez, Stacey Augmon, Jimmy Jackson and Eddie Robinson are other guys to talk with, but I don't know if they could get them in with the salary cap. Christian Laettner is a free agent who was fairly successful as a Maverick, and he didn't leave with any bad blood. A big man who can run the floor would be nice, but a backup shooting guard is the first priority.