By: Josh Clark
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) – The Dallas Mavericks injury-plagued season ended Wednesday night with a surprising win in Memphis. Dallas avoided a 50-loss season thanks to their young players outlasting the Grizzlies youngsters in the 4th quarter.
The win, while good for the morale of the rookies on the team, wasn’t a good result for the Mavs draft purposes. With the win and a loss by Sacramento in Houston, Dallas fell out of a tie for the 8th overall pick … and if it weren’t for New Orleans beating Portland late Wednesday, Dallas would have tied for 9th and would have faced a random drawing by the NBA to determine the 9th and 10th picks.
The Mavericks now turn their attention to a big offseason, which includes business to be done with restricted free agent Nerlens Noel and what to do with Dirk Nowitzki’s $25 million club option.
Before any of that will happen, Cuban’s Mavs will find out what pick they’ll receive in May’s lottery.
The likeliest scenario is the Mavericks making their pick from the 9th spot in the draft, but there is a very small chance they can still get a top-three selection.
Dallas has a 1.7% chance of getting the first overall pick, a 2.0% chance of getting the 2nd pick and 2.4% chance of getting the 3rd selection. Meaning that the Mavs have a 6.1% chance of landing in the top-three. The 9th pick carries an 81.3% chance of staying with the team occupying the ninth worst record.
Those long odds may seem improbable for Dallas to win the first overall pick, but it has happened before. In the history of the NBA lottery (since 1985), the team with the ninth worst record has received the first pick twice. The Chicago Bulls won the lottery in 2008 and selected Derrick Rose and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft in 2014 and selected Andrew Wiggins.
If Dallas doesn’t win the lottery … or end up in the top-three … all is not lost. Ten players selected with the 9th overall pick in the last 20 years have made an all-star team. Among the notables are a German named Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Andre Iguodala, DeMar Derozan and Gordan Heyward.
Dallas will absolutely take a player of their caliber to pair with their young core. And it just so happens that this coming draft is being called one of the deepest drafts since 2003 when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were selected in the top-five. This draft isn’t seen as that top heavy but it has a few potential all-stars.
Washington guard Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball and Kansas’s Josh Jackson are seen as the top prospects, but players like Jayson Tatum (Duke), De’Aaron Fox (Kentucky), Malik Monk (Kentucky), Jonathan Isaac (Florida State), Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State), Lauri Markkanen (Arizona) and Frank Ntilikina (France) all have potential, and you can bet the Mavs will have their eyes on all of them leading up to the lottery on May 16.