It’s draft season, ladies and gents. The Dallas Mavericks hold the 18th and 31st picks in Wednesday’s NBA Draft. Rumors have swirled, as they always do, around the Mavericks and their plans for draft night, whether that’s to keep their pick or make a trade.
If they do intend to keep their first round pick at #18, below are four prospects that not only have the opportunity to still be on the board when Dallas is on the clock, but would also be ideal fits for the Mavericks at that spot.
Josh Green – G/F – Arizona
A freshman at Arizona, Josh Green looks like an ideal 3-and-D wing in the today’s NBA. At 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Green has the length and size on the perimeter that GM’s look for in a wing. Green checks the boxes in various areas, especially on defense. He’s a great competitor on the defensive end, whether that’s defending point guard’s or forward’s on the perimeter. Add in his superb athleticism and nose for the ball, averaging 1.5 steals per game, Green can be a hound on the defensive end and become an elite perimeter defender in the NBA.
On the offensive end of the floor, Green shoots the ball and sees the ball well, shooting 36% from deep in his lone season as a Wildcat. You could argue he should’ve shot more, only putting up 2.8 shots from three per game. Green’s athleticism shined when in transition, which you could imagine a lot of easy fast break buckets for him when playing with Luka. With practice and time, Green can increase that percentage from outside as well as polish up on his slashing and finishing at the rim, making him a potential top tier 3-and-D guy in the league.
Aaron Nesmith – G/F – Vanderbilt
Though an injury cut his season short, Nesmith showed enough in his 14 games at Vanderbilt to be a mid-first round pick, averaging 23 points per game. Nesmith is a sharpshooter, shooting 52% from three on 8.2 attempts per game in his sophomore season. His lengthy range and ability to get shots off quick are certainly intriguing when imagining him on the wing alongside Luka. You can argue Nesmith is the best shooter in this draft and should have a long NBA career because of it.
Standing at 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan, Nesmith has the ideal length and size that teams seek out on the wing. Though he isn’t known for his defense, he has the size, strength, and makeup to be a good defender on the perimeter. With his shooting, if Nesmith can lock in on the defensive end, he can become an solid 3-and-D option for the Mavericks or any team that calls his name come Wednesday night.
Desmond Bane – G/F – TCU
The senior from TCU seems to be as well-rounded as a young man in the entire draft. You look at him and say, “that’s a professional.”
Bane averaged 16.6 points while shooting 44% on 6.5 three point attempts per game in his senior season in Fort Worth. And that 44% isn’t a fluke, as he made 43% from deep through his four years in college. Bane can really shoot the rock, whether that’s spot up, on the move, or from deep range.
At 6-foot-6 and a strong, built body, Bane has good size for his position, especially on the defensive end. Though his wingspan doesn’t wow you, and it’ll honestly disappoint you, he’s a smart defender. He won’t lock anyone down or make an All-NBA defensive team, but he knows how to play the game and knows where to be on the floor.
Bane may one of the older prospects in the draft and has a shorter wingspan than his height, but that doesn’t scare me. If you’re a GM sitting at #18, you’re looking for a guy who can fit a role. If you strike gold at #18, props to you. But this is where you find quality starters and role players and Desmond Bane feels like a sure thing in his role.
R.J Hampton – G – New Zealand Breakers (NBL)
Once a top-five projected pick coming out of high school, Dallas-native Hampton opted against going to college and decided to play in the NBL last season. Like Nesmith, an injury cut Hampton’s season short with the New Zealand Breakers, where he averaged 8.8 points per game through 15 contests. International stats never seem to jump off the statsheet but you can certainly argue the experience playing in a very competitive, tough league like the NBL against grown men gives Hampton an advantage over his fellow college draftee counterparts.
Hampton is known for being a versatile, combo guard who can play both positions in the backcourt. With an explosive, quick first step, Hampton is able to get past defenders and attack the basket/dish to teammate. With continued progress and consistency on his outside jumper along with polishing up his fundamentals and toughness on defense, Hampton can be a well-rounded combo guard in the Mavericks rotation.
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