The fact that I’m even writing this in regards to a Dallas Mavericks draft means something. The Mavs haven’t had a meaningful draft pick since the Bush administration so this year was an opportune time to change that.
Side Note: Although I’m happy with the Mavericks picks, I was almost more excited between each pick throughout the draft when David Stern was boo’d from all angles at the Prudential Center. (Maybe in a later blog I’ll share my not-so-kind opinions on him). I digress, on to the draft……..
#17 Pick. Let’s not spend much time on this. The pick was Tyler Zeller from University of North Carolina who was traded to Cleveland for 3 different picks. Mavs also parted ways with Kileena Azuibuke in an obvious move to clear cap space. I think we’re OK here. I wasn’t excited about the Zeller pick. I feel that Zeller would be a lighter skinned version of Robin Lopez anyways. I could be wrong.
#24 Pick (from Cleveland) The Mavericks drafted 6’4 junior guard, Jared Cunningham from Oregon State University. The attribute that excites me the most is his ability to get to the rim. Let’s face it; the Mavericks have struggled in this department over the years. Dirk has been one of the only players to create foul shots and that’s mainly because of his size, not his aggressiveness (Minus the 2011 NBA Playoffs). Cunningham led the PAC 12 in steals per game and finished 9th in the nation. He was also first team PAC 12 All Defensive Team. So let’s see……. Can penetrate and create shots and fouls, and plays great defense. I’ll take it. As much of a Roddy B fan that I am, this means that he will either be traded, or that Roddy B will be forced to step his game up. But for Dominique Jones, this could be the end of the road.
#33 Pick (from Cleveland) was Bernard James, 6’10 Power Forward from Florida State University. Interesting fact about James is that he is 27 years old due to his previous enrollment in the U.S. Air Force. Serving 3 tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Qatar. This immediately, without question, is a great pick at the 33rd spot. We already know that his work ethic will not be an issue and his character/attitude is an automatic advantage. In his final season at FSU, James averaged 10.8 points and 8.1 boards per game. Protect that paint, Sgt. James!!
#34 Pick (from Cleveland) was the 6’6 Forward from Marquette University, Jae Crowder. Crowed was first team All Big East and was ultimately names the Big East Player of the year. Personally, this is my favorite pick. I remember watching Crowder this past March and being amazed by his talent and hustle. The reality is that in the 2012 season, our Mavericks got it in lulls at times and forgot that they were playing an NBA game with careless passing and weak defense. Players like Crowder and existing guys like B Wright get on the floor and create momentum. Mavericks needed a personality like this. Crowder could very well be our next Brandon Bass.
On this draft day, there was another key move that involved the current Mavs roster; Odom to the Clippers, Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz, and an $8.5 million trade exception from Utah. This is all currently pending on the decision of Mo Williams who has until Saturday to determine if he wants to live in Salt Lake City. This is the ideal move that would heal most wounds from the failed Lamar Odom experiment.
This Mavericks draft turned from a disappointment to success very quickly. In a Jon Daniels-esque move, the Mavericks swapped a higher pick and the potential of Azuibuke to Cleveland for 3 great picks. This could ultimately mean that Roddy B, Djo, Haywood, Mahimni, could be packing their bags for different climates. But I think we’re all ok with that, right? There’s a key to success that’s often over looked. That’s having skilled veterans with quality playoff experience, mixed with a splash of youth and aggressiveness. That’s what wins titles. And that’s what this Mavs roster can look like if they play their cards right. The next chore on the Mavs list, sign Deron Williams. #DerontoDallas
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