Its well known by now that the Mavs are open to making a deal in this draft. They could move up, move back, acquire an additional pick or trade away their pick completely for a player worthy (hopefully) of such a move.
There will certainly be a lot of interest from other teams, regardless of who is still available once the Mavs are on the clock.
4 Possible Trade Down Scenarios
Cleveland calls and offers their 8th pick and Kevin Love in exchange for the 5th pick and Wesley Matthews.
Washington calls and offers Bradley Beal and their 15th pick in exchange for the 5th pick and Matthews.
Clippers call and offer Tobias Harris, the 12th and 13th picks for the Mavs 5th pick plus something else.
Orlando calls and offers Jonathan Isaac and the #6 pick for the Mavs 5th and 32nd picks. Maybe they offer Nikola Vucevic instead of Isaac.
Who knows what all could happen? The bottom line is that the Mavericks could end up having a pick outside the top 5 for better or worse, and there is still plenty of great talent available.
So, outside of the top 6 prospects (Denadre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagey, Mohamed Bamba, Jaren Jackson, Michael Porter), what are some names that Mavs fans can be excited about? Here’s four guys that should be on your radar:
Mikal Bridges, SG/SF
This guy will make an impact for whichever team gets lucky enough to draft him. He is the epitome of what you would refer to as a “3 and D” wing. Bridges is extremely long, standing at 6’7” with a 7’2”wingspan, and has a winning pedigree as he starred for the NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats.
As a junior last season, he averaged 17.7 points per game, shooting 51.4% from the field and 43.5% from three. To round things out, he chipped in 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 blocks a game. Per Forbes.com, he also became just the second qualified player to average at least 2.5 made threes, 1.5 steals and 1.0 block per game in NCAA history.
One minor problem he showed is relying on his length too much defensively. He would allow ball handlers to get by him, knowing he could make up the ground with his go go gadget arms. That won’t work as well in the NBA. Probably the most reported weakness in his game is creating off the dribble, both for himself and for others. However, as last season progressed he started to show quite a bit of improvement in this area. If that part of his game develops, he has sky-high potential.
Miles Bridges, SG/SF
No, this isn’t a repeat, there are two players named Bridges in this draft. This version stands 6’7” tall with a 6’10” wingspan and weighs in at a muscular 230 pounds. Last season as a sophomore for Michigan State, he averaged 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Overall, he shot 45.7% from the field and 36.4% from three on 5.7 three-point attempts per game.
He is a vicious dunker who plays with tremendous intensity. Bridges is most impactful as a spot up shooter, running in transition or attacking a close out defender. Bridges lacks top end speed, but is pretty explosive. He’s a decent ball handler who is improving and can take advantage of bigger players.
However, although he is a very large and muscular man, he doesn’t use that to his advantage enough. He struggles as a post defender and settles for jumpers too often offensively. To be fair, he does playtougher when going up for rebounds. Perhaps most importantly, he has shown the ability to hit big shots and oozes alpha dog type leadership.
If he continues to develop his skills as a ball handler and playmaker, in addition to learning how to use his body offensively, Miles Bridges will definitely be fun to watch and could be a very impactful player with an all-star caliber ceiling.
Kevin Knox, SF
Out of all the players in this draft, Knox could arguably be the biggest steal. Still at just 18 years old, he stands 6’9”tall with a 7 foot wing span, and weighs 218 pounds. According to his college coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari, he’s still growing into his body.
Knox was Kentucky’s leading scorer and can put it in the basket at all three levels on the floor. He doesn’t make a lot of bad passes, has shown the ability to rebound and plays defense when engaged, but that’s the problem…he’s not always engaged. If his shot isn’t falling or he isn’t involved in the offense for stretches, he tends to fall out of games.
He can also be vulnerable to turning the ball over occasionally as a ball handler, and have tunnel vision as he sometimes dribbles with his head down. He seems like a young man who is just that…young. If he can become smarter, more mature and tough on the court, a lot of his weaknesses should improve.
Overall, Knox has the physical gifts to be an elite player in the NBA if everything works out right. In his lone college season, he was first team All-SEC and conference co-freshman of the year. If he lands with a good coach who can grow his game mentally, he has superstar potential.
Wendell Carter Jr., PF/C
If he hadn’t been playing next to Marvin Bagley at Duke, Carter might have had a lot more fanfare. At 6’10”, 251 pounds and a wingspan of 7’4”, Carter is big enough to play both frontcourt positions. He is arguably the most fundamentally sound player in the top of the draft, has an extremely well rounded game, a high basketball I.Q. and great work ethic. He is extremely skilled offensively in the post, can hit mid-range shots and stretch the floor to the three-point line. He’s also a good post defender who plays intelligently.
He isn’t going number one overall in this draft for a few reasons: First, he’s a little short to be a dominant big man in the NBA. He’s actually only 6 foot 8.75 inches without shoes on and has smaller hands than what you would like for a big. On top of that, he’s also not an extremely explosive or springy player (However, he had a very poor 7.85% body fat measurement at the combine. If he can cut that down, it might help in this area tremendously).
Lastly, he isn’t a great perimeter defender on smaller players. Given the way the current NBA is played, small ball lineups could take advantage of him if he gets isolated on the perimeter. In those situations he does semi-well going side to side, but is very poor going north-south. Basically, once that ball handler gets a step on him, he doesn’t recover very well.
Carter Jr. projects to be a very good NBA player. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as others, but he definitely has borderline all-star potential and a higher floor than most.