The Dallas Mavericks’ season is officially over, as they fell to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Now, free agency and trade rumors are already starting to heat up, including the Mavs considering the option of joining the bid for Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine through a possible sign and exchange.
Before we get to that in the offseason, however, the Mavs still have some business to settle in the NBA Draft, which begins June 23. Dallas owns the No. 26 pick in the first round. It’s currently the only pick the Mavs have after trading their second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the Kristaps Porzingis deal earlier this season.
Last summer, general manager Nico Harrison, who had just been hired by the Mavs, had nothing to work with in the draft, given that Dallas had no choice. The last time Dallas made selections was in the 2020 draft, where they walked away with Josh Green, Tyrell Terry and Tyler Bey. Terry and Bey are no longer part of the team and Green has yet to become a consistent player, while players selected after him such as Saddiq Bey, Tyrese Maxey and Desmond Bane have already developed well.
Given the Mavs’ recent draft history, aside from the 2018 draft which marked both Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, it would be easier to consider trading the No. 26 pick in a bid to increase depth. However, Harrison’s eye for talent, at least when it comes to non-European prospects, might be better than Donnie Nelson’s.
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To build a true championship contender, you need star power and a great supporting cast. Whether a team makes it through free agency, trades, or the draft, it takes skill, as well as a bit of luck, to get to that point. Look no further than the Dynasty team the Mavs just lost to in the Western Finals.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were all drafted by the Warriors, with Green taken in the second round. While it seems like they’ve hit every pick every time, the truth is the Warriors have made plenty of attempts in the draft over the years. The year between Curry and Thompson’s draft years, Golden State selected Ekpe Udoh with the No. 6 overall pick, while Paul George and Gordon Hayward did so soon after.
As tempted as the Mavs may be to trade their 2022 pick, they might want to consider keeping it and giving Harrison a chance to add a young, usable piece to the roster who will be on a contract at the moment. rookie ladder for the next four years. If a bigger trade scenario materializes, like the LaVine sign-and-trade mentioned earlier, the Mavs could still include their 2025 and 2027 first-round picks, including pick trades in the middle years if necessary.
We will soon find out how different the mindset of this new regime is from the old when it comes to the project. The Mavs simply can’t rely on free agency as heavily as they have in the past if they are to achieve the Warriors’ level of sustained dominance.