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With the 5th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select…

Well, Mavs fans, though the Draft Lottery didn’t exactly go our way last night, it also didn’t not go our way. Projected to have the third best odds at landing the first overall pick, the Mavericks found themselves owning the 5th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft once the Draft Lottery had commenced. 

What was the cause? The Sacramento Kings, projected to have the 7th best odds in the lottery, jumped up into the top-3, ultimately coming away with the 2nd pick. 

Disappointing? Yes. Disheartening? A tad bit. But, is it the end of the world? Not at all. It could’ve been worse, as the Mavericks had a chance to fall to the 6th pick. 

Mavericks legend and current Assistant VP of Basketball Operations Michael Finley spoke on falling to the 5th pick following representing the Mavericks at the Draft Lottery, “Ultimately, when you are in this position, you would love to have the first pick, but we will still have a top-5 pick with a chance to get a very good player.”

Finley represented the Mavericks at the Draft Lottery for the second straight year. Last year, the Mavericks landed Dennis Smith Jr. with the 9th pick. Making the trip with Finley to his hometown of Chicago was Assistant GM Keith Grant, Assistant Equipment Manager Neil Herskowitz, and Finley’s mother Bertha. “It is a deep draft with some great young talent and we can still get a player who can come in and help us out immediately.”

So, now that the draft order is settled, what prospect can Mark, Donnie, and Rick expect to be sitting there at 5 to help DSJ and company bring Dallas back to the promise land?

Mohamed Bamba | C | Texas 

If you looked up wingspan in the dictionary, there would be a photo of Mohamed Bamba. The 7-foot freshman from the University of Texas has a 7’9″ wingspan and a even more ridiculous 9’6″ standing reach. His length and athleticism makes him a feared defensive presence as soon as he steps onto the floor, averaging 3.7 blocks per game. Adding some muscle will help strengthen his post defense and ability to bang on the boards without draining him physically. Offensively, he is still raw and growing into his own. His shooting stroke has gotten a lot better and he already has a solid handle for someone his size. With time, his post game will become more polished and that jumper will be able to consistently stretch out to the three-point line. At his upmost ceiling, Bamba has the chance to flirt with Joel Embiid type of potential, which is a frightening thing to pass on. It’s just a matter of him still being on the draft board. 

Jaren Jackson Jr. | PF | Michigan State

Though he may not be the flashly draft prospect, don’t sleep on Jaren Jackson Jr. The Michigan State Spartan has an NBA ready body like Bamba at 6’11” and 240 pounds with a 7’4″ wingspan and a 9’1″ standing reach. Jackson Jr. has great instincts for his age on the defensive end. He rotates very well with active hands and great timing on his block attempts. JJJ fits the mold of the “new NBA” as the perfect stretch big man as he can stretch out and hit the three with his left-handed stroke. Has good touch around the rim though needs some polish on his post moves and ball handling. Sometimes gets himself into foul trouble, which limited his minutes and production. Overall, JJJ should blossom into a long-time two-way starter in this league. 

Michael Porter Jr. | SF/PF | Missouri

Some may say the somewhat forgotten about top prospect of the lottery. He may have only played 53 total minutes during his freshman season at Missouri due to a back injury suffered in the first two minutes of the season opener, but MPJ is a walking bucket when healthy. Standing at 6’10”, Porter Jr. can score at all three levels. At Nathan Hale high school in Seattle, he was coached by former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy, leading them to a 29-0 record and a state title. Pending the health of his back, Porter Jr. should be able to translate his versatile scoring ability to the NBA. Has a smooth shooting stroke though seems to sometimes settle for outside jumpers instead attacking the rim. Will need to improve as an all-around defender, especially if he’s guarding big men in the post. If healthy, MPJ will be an impact scorer at the next level. 

The Mavericks may have fallen to the 5th pick in the draft, but Michael Finley is hoping this will be his last trip to the Draft Lottery for years to come. “We are hopeful that we can get a guy who will help us not be in this lottery next year.”

Lead editor covering Dallas Mavericks | Born & raised in the Dallas area. UNT graduate. Sports writer with a hefty beard and a smooth jump shot.

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