5 Players Dallas Mavericks Could Target In 2014 NBA Draft
Who Can The Man On The Left Add To Help The Man On The Right?
The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the surprises of this NBA season as they currently sit in the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. Regardless of how this season plays out, this coming offseason has the chance to set the Mavericks up for a return to title contention. It begins in free agency, where Dirk Nowitzki has already stated that he will take a pay cut this summer to help the Mavericks attract other free agents.
Mark Cuban signed Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis this past offseason to team friendly deals, and it’s possible that the Mavericks have their nucleus in place and accounting for only $21-22 million of the salary cap. Shawn Marion is a free agent and may not be back with the team. The Mavericks added Marion’s replacement, Jae Crowder, a couple of seasons ago. The team also drafted ACC Player of the Year Shane Larkin and Providence star Ricky Ledo this past season with hopes that they could provide much-needed depth.
The Mavericks are three seasons removed from an NBA championship, and Cuban doesn’t seem content with just making the playoffs. In fact, he has repeatedly stated that the “Bank of Cuban” is always open to let other teams know that the Mavericks were open for business. There’s a lot of talent available this summer in free agency, from SG Lance Stephenson to SF Luol Deng. However, with the exception of Carmelo Anthony, there aren’t any difference makers available. Therefore, the Mavericks should use the NBA Draft to improve their team, and these five players would go a long way towards assisting them with this.
5. Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
At 7-foot and with the ability to play like a wing player or guard, Willie Cauley-Stein would bring much needed athleticism and attitude to the Mavericks. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he is already an excellent shot blocker. In fact, he is exactly the kind of player that Tyson Chandler was for the Mavericks during the 2011 title run. He would give Dirk an athletic shot blocker who could develop into a serious force down the line.
4. CJ Fair, SF, Syracuse
CJ Fair is athletic and has great catch and shoot ability. He can also shoot from three, which would give Nowitzki another weapon to pass the ball out to when teams double team him. Fair has higher upside when compared to Dekker, but he would bring more question marks as well. Some are projecting Fair to go in the lottery, so getting him at the end of round one would be a coup for the Mavericks.
3. Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Adrien Payne is 6-foot-10 and can play both small forward and power forward. Payne has shown an improved ability to knock down three-pointers, and he is very skilled in the paint on both ends of the court. Payne also excels in the pick and roll and would be excellent running the two man game with Jose Calderon or Monta Ellis.
2. Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin
Sam Dekker is a glue guy, if you will. He can handle the ball, shoot from the top of the key or drive and dish as well as anyone in college basketball. With Shawn Marion slated to become a free agent, Dekker would be an ideal replacement for him because he does all of the things that Marion does. Dekker might actually be the safest pick in the draft.
1. Nick Johnson, PG/SG, Arizona
While not a position of need for the Mavericks, Nick Johnson would be a great sixth man. Johnson can play both guard positions and is just as good handling the ball as he is a shooter. He is ridiculously athletic, and he'd excel in the open court with Ellis as a backcourt mate. Johnson would be good value late in round one.