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Blog Boys Vol. 5: Draft recap and Mavs free agency targets

The #BlogBoys are back! After a small hiatus during all of the draft frenzy, we’re here to discuss how the Mavericks did in the NBA Draft by selecting Luka Doncic and company. We also touch on the upcoming free agency and who Dallas should target to help get this rebuilding team back into the playoffs. Enjoy!

1.The draft has come and gone as the Mavs landed Luka Doncic. What’s your overall grade for the Mavs draft?

DuPont: Without a crystal ball to peer into the Mavs’ five-year plan, I would grade the pick an A-minus based on the ability to target a position of need, the off-guard position. Doncic is an intriguing immediate contributor who does not need summer league to showcase his value to this franchise after spending much of April, May and June competing internationally. My only reservation: the future picks surrendered by the Mavs. 

Konkle: They get an A+ from me. Luka Doncic is one of, if not the most accomplished international prospect of all time. He’s a 6’8″ methodical playmaker who compliments Dennis Smith Jr.’s dynamic speed and athleticism very well, and what makes this even more spectacular is how truly little they had to give up to get him.

It’s been pretty well documented that the 2019 draft is pretty weak compared to the 2018 lottery. The pick they had to sacrifice is protected 1-5, just in case next season doesn’t go as planned. It’s perfect, especially given their cap situation and ability to add pieces in free agency. Donnie Nelson is on record saying he hopes the pick conveys next season, and I definitely think it will.

Mulford: An easy A+. Doncic was Dallas’ target from the jump and they got their guy. Yes, a future protected pick was surrendered but Luka’s potential in this offense alongside Dennis is sky high. Donnie is one of, if not the most tapped in GM when it comes to international prospects. If Donnie targeted Luka as the guy, then I wholeheartedly believe that he is the future of this franchise. 

Regarding the second round, I think the Mavs cleaned up well. Jalen Brunson is a flat out winner with a high IQ. Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo have the length and versatility that you want from a hybrid forward. Draft night was indeed a good night for the Mavericks.

Rathbun: Definitely an A. The front office has had their eye on Doncic this whole year as they watched him collect MVP’s and Championships in the second best league in the world. Considering that they only gave up a top-5 protected first round pick in a draft that is supposedly weak, I say they did a good job. They also got Jalen Brunson with their second pick. I, like many other Mavs fans, was wondering why they would draft another PG when they are already so deep at the guard spot. Regardless, the Mavs got two proven winners and technically MVPs of both the college level league and the EuroLeague. Donny Nelson is a magician.

2. Regarding the draft, because they selected Doncic and Jalen Brunson, does this mean Yogi may be out the door in free agency? What about Seth Curry?

DuPont: Wesley Matthews’ time in Dallas might be dwindling to an end. The Mavs traded up to draft an immediate contributor at his position carrying a much lower cap hit. There are many trade speculations revolving around Dallas and DeAndre Jordan and if this deal were to happen, Matthews contract would certainly help facilitate the move. The Mavs have a stockpile at the guard position with the additions of Doncic and Brunson which could harvest into uncertainty regarding the futures of Curry, Yogi Ferrell or Matthews.

Konkle: I’m not entirely sure, but I definitely think it’s a possibility now more than ever. In fact, I think they probably should let him walk. It has nothing to do with Yogi the player, as he’s been pretty reliable in his time here. It just a matter of more practical resource allocation. How much money should you spend on the 4th, maybe even 5th guard in your rotation? The obvious answer is not very much.

As for Curry, I think there is and should be mutual interest in bringing him back. His elite shooting and complimentary playmaking showed up big time down the stretch of the 2016 season, and playing with with Dennis and Luka should only raise his stock even more. Hopefully for him, he will be able to parlay that into a nice contract either here or somewhere else.

Mulford: Regarding Yogi, I think cap wise and rotation wise after drafting Brunson, it makes sense for Yogi to find a new home. Granted, in Carlisle’s system, he plays a lot of three guard lineups as we’ve seen in the past few years. It’s not out of the question that Yogi is gone but I’d expect teams to have interest in him come July 1st. 

For Curry, the situation is a little different, especially coming off an injury riddled season. Adding a playmaker like Doncic only frees up Curry’s sharpshooting skillset even more. I think I’m speaking for all mavs fans here when saying that we would love to have Curry back for next season and beyond, at the right price.

Rathbun: Both of the answers to these questions relies on the Devin Harris conundrum. Are the Mavs bringing him back? It seems like they will so they can have two veteran PGs to guide DSJ and now Brunson. Because of that, I think Yogi is more likely to leave than Curry. Curry can play the two spot without giving up as much size as Yogi and he’s better a shooter too. Plus, it seems unlikely that he will be healthy to start the season after battling through a stress fracture injury all year that eventually required surgery, possibly giving the Mavs some negotiating leverage that they won’t have with Yogi. However, the Warriors have five open spots on their roster at the moment, so the allure of playing with his brother and probably winning a championship may be enough to draw him away from the Mavericks. Both guys have a very high possibility of wearing another teams jersey next season in my opinion.

3. With free agency approaching, the hole at the center position remains for Dallas. Who’s your ideal free agent fit to man the middle of the defense?

DuPont: Clint Capela is the ideal fit at center entering free agency. Capela is a restricted free agent and it will likely take a sizable offer to lure him but his age and potential is closer to the timeline of the Mavs young core which includes Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic.

Konkle: The Mavs need an athletic, shot blocking, rim running, interior presence to really maximize the skills of their two young playmakers. Houston’s Clint Capela should be their first choice, but he’s restricted. I do think there are ways to acquire him, similar to how Dallas stole Chandler Parsons back in 2014, but it’s still a big time dice roll.

So that leaves our old friend, DeAndre Jordan.

It’s time Mavs fans. Yes, what he did put us through tough times, but his skill set is desperately needed. It’s time to forgive, if you haven’t already.

Mulford: Capela is definitely the ideal choice, in my opinion. Though, stealing him away from the Rockets will be tough, as he is restricted and I’d expect them to match any offer, unless their priority shifts to adding LeBron. 

Realistically, DeAndre Jordan seems like the likely candidate. Disregard what happened in 2015, Mavs fans. Honestly, DJ spurning the Mavs was a blessing in disguise because that helped us land Dennis and Luka. DJ would bring a rebounding monster and a rim protecting presence that Dallas hasn’t had since Tyson Chandler.

Now, if trade talks fall through with the Clippers, I’d expect the Mavs to pursue the thought of DeMarcus Cousins. Sure, he’s coming off a torn Achilles, but the man is oozing with talent that doesn’t come available that often.

Rathbun: Comes down to two options: expensive or cheap. My expensive center is DeAndre Jordan. Yes, he spurned the Mavs three years ago with the chair and emoji fiasco. But without that, the Mavs wouldn’t have been terrible enough to land both DSJ and Doncic. Jordan will make roughly $24 million if he opts-in and is then traded. This gives the Mavs the chance to rent him for a year and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, Dallas then has money to go after 2019 free agents. I also like the idea of DeMarcus Cousins. Sure he is emotional and gets technicals but that doesn’t concern me. My concern with Cousins is him being a 270 pound man who just ruptured his Achilles. We saw how long it took Wes Matthews to get to where he is now and he still isn’t what he used to be.

My cheap option is former Suns big man Alex Len who will be 25 during the next season. Len is a former lottery pick in 2013 who, for whatever reason, didn’t get much playing time. I believe his lack of opportunity stems from a directionless franchise rather than his inabilities on the court. Despite only averaging 20 minutes a game, Len finished last year with per game averages of 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and almost one block. He has been in the top 10 in block percentage twice in his five year career and gives the Mavs a cheaper option to fill the defensive presence and rebounding issues they desperately need to fix.

4. Which of the Maverick free agents tops your list of hopeful returns? Any other free agents that you hope Dallas to go after?

DuPont: I’m not prioritizing the re-acquisition of any Mavs from last season’s team who may now be free agents. The team was guaranteed a top six draft pick for a reason, they earned it. I would like to see Dallas take a shot at DeMarcus Cousins but I completely understand the reservations and hesitations. Cousins won’t likely linger around free agency for long as the Pelicans have great incentive to get him under contract in anticipation of future negotiations with Anthony Davis, who has heralded the acquisition of Cousins by New Orleans. By acquiring Cousins, Dallas could potentially put the big man on ice while rehabbing an Achilles injury and finagle its way into another first round pick in next year’s draft, potentially setting the Mavs in position to enter the 2019-2020 season with three top-15 picks and a healthy and quality interior presence.

Konkle: Definitely Doug McDermott. I’ve referenced the two young playmakers the Mavs now have several times, and also how a rim running center should be a priority, and McBuckets could greatly benefit from the presence of those two things. He was fantastic last season under Rick Carlisle, which is unsurprising given his high basketball IQ and understanding of where to be. His shooting along with Curry would be great for this team and their two young cornerstones.

As for guys who were not here previously, Marcus Smart is someone who has intrigued me for awhile. I just got through talking about how the Mavs need shooting around their two pups, but they also need defenders and Marcus Smart is the elite of the elite in that regard. His playmaking on the less glamorous end, and really just his knack for making winning basketball plays is something that would help this young bunch a lot.

Mulford: Out of the Mavericks free agents, I agree that Doug McDermott tops my list. McBuckets is a perfect fit in Carlisle’s system and that showed in the 26 games he played for Dallas after the trade. McDermott shot 49.4% from three as a Maverick while also showcasing his ability to move without the ball and sneak backdoor for layups. 

At first, I was a little hesitant on the thought of Marcus Smart becoming a Maverick but I’ve come around to it. Though, his upmost confidence even when his shot is struggling to fall, he does all of the little things you’d want from a role player. He has an elite ability to find the ball on defense. If we lose Wes in a trade for DeAndre, I think the Dallas native will be the perfect fit to help energize and lead this team on defense, as well as showcase his playmaking ability.

Rathbun: Doug McDermott. I know the Mavs just renounced his rights but they did it merely to free up the cash needed to land someone like DeAndre Jordan. McDermott spoke highly of Rick Carlisle’s offense and how it fit him as a player. Mavs fans got to see him light it up from three after the trade deadline passed. Shooting is at a premium in today’s NBA so it makes him that much more valuable in the open market. I want Dallas to look at players who can help on the defensive end. Having a 3 and D wing player off the bench would be great. Enter the biggest pest of the modern NBA: Lance Stephenson. I know, he is kind of a head case but he is also an energy guy who can play the SG and SF spots as well as handle the ball. He also doesn’t mind coming off the bench. He brings experience, ball handling, defense, a tenacity that I wouldn’t mind rubbing off on the younger guys, and last but not least his antics. I think the good outweighs the bad here, especially if he is in a bench contributor role.

We are the #BlogBoys. Why the #BlogBoys? Well, you can thank Kevin Durant for that. Durant recently did his fair share of ranting about the supposed “blog boys” and how analysts/writers didn’t watch basketball nor know what they were talking about. Now, that may reign true other places but not here at Dallas Sports Fanatic. We’re pleased to bring you content and insight about your favorite local teams that we are proud of, whether Durant is a fan of us or not.

The #BlogBoys will be a round table discussion between a few of our Mavericks staff: Mike DuPontReese KonkleMichael Mulford, and Trevor Rathbun. We will touch on Mavericks specific topics while also speaking on what’s going on league-wide around the NBA. A new edition will be posted every Friday so sit back, grab yourself a cupcake, and welcome to the #BlogBoys!

Managing Editor for Dallas Sports Fanatic | Lead Editor covering the Dallas Mavericks | UNT Alum | Twitter: @TheMulf

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