Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 6/1/12
For the first time in Ever, the Dallas Mavericks received positive news in the annual NBA draft lottery. The Nets stayed at No. 6 (where the math of their ping-pong balls said they should be). Therefore they get that pick in the Draft but must ship it to Portland to complete the Gerald Wallace deal. (New Orleans beat some odds by jumping from fourth-best chance to the No. 1 pick and a chance at Kentucky's Anthony Davis.) That means no grand asset for the Nets as they attempt to keep Deron Williams (or to use to lure Dwight Howard to join him). And that fact, emerging from Wednesday's lotto, keeps the Mavs' Deron Dream alive. I've been told that while the Mavs will obviously attend all the scouting combines and will therefore know plenty about Kentucky's Anthony Davis and the rest, there is such a focus on the use of the slots at 17 and 55 that the Mavs plan on inviting to town only those players likely to fall in certain sections of the draft. Therefore Don't expect the top five to seven players to visit the AAC for private workouts. I'm told that the team will bring to town players expected to be available from 10-to-20 or so, and those expected to be available with that second pick at 55. What is to be gathered from this? They don't see a real shot at moving way up. They do maybe harbor a willingness to examine moving up slightly. And they are taking seriously the value that can be had in their existing slots in what is said to be a deep draft. Deron. And the Draft. Twin ways for Dallas to try to remain in long-term contention. For all of the impressive moves made by a front office led by Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, moves that acquired players like Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler for pennies on the dollar, moves that continue to include gems buried in the final years of contracts (such as Erick Dampier's now well-known DUST Chip), one area of success has continued to elude them: the draft. Going all the way back to 2001, the summer after 11 consecutive years of 50-plus wins began, through 2011 you'll see a remarkable Mavs trend and we don't say that in a positive manner. Remove all trades and Dallas was handed 22 picks over this span by the league: one pick in the 1st and 2nd round each. A plethora of trades were made, including deals that brought in the fifth overall pick Devin Harris in 2004 and Roddy Beaubois. Unfortunately, over this 11-year span, those two names likely represent two-thirds of the consequential names procured through the draft; with the other being Josh Howard. After these three, you're littered with names the average fan has likely never heard of, or heard of for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps it's too soon to turn the page on Dominique Jones, but there's been little proof over his first two seasons that he's primed to make a significant push even if the hope remains. There are a couple of players yet to play in the NBA who may or may not prove to be worth more than currently believed. Nick Calathes and Petteri Koponen have shown flashes of talent overseas. Maybe someday they'll get their chance to impress Mavs thinkers and fans, though Coop alerts us that Koponen just signed three-year deal to remain overseas. Beyond this, when you look at a near complete draft history since 2001 for the Mavs (we say "near complete" as there may be a draft-day deal left out here and there, though we likely didn't omit any names that improve the return shown below), you come away with a resource that's been left almost entirely untapped. You may counter with what has proven to be the value added in the Jason Kidd deal, which included the sacrifice of two picks. But the Mavs will approach this year's draft differently, I think. There is young talent to be had, and to be had on the cheap. And Dallas will need that financial room when they simultaneously try to build with the top-heavy acquisition of Deron.
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