2012 NBA Draft Grades: Cavs Trade 24th Pick Jared Cunningham to Dallas

Dallas Mavericks | Last Season: 36-30 (Lost First Round of Playoffs) | Draft Picks: Traded 17 for 24, 33, & 34, 55

Season Summary: For a team that won the NBA Finals the year before, earning the seventh seed and losing in the first round was a huge disappointment for a team like the Mavericks. This is a veteran team that showed how much age can be a factor and in a way it hurt them during the 2011-12 season.

Draft Needs: There’s a good chance this team will go with the best scorer available considering all of the questions surrounding what will happen to some of their key players on the roster—like Jason Terry who signed with the Boston Celtics.

Pick #24: Jared Cunningham | G | Oregon State

Jared Cunningham surprised some NBA scouts when he first declared for the draft, but they quickly became impressed with his size, speed, and athleticism. Cunningham left Oregon State with 11 school recording, most notably tying Gary Payton with 91 steals as a junior. He earned himself a spot in the Pac-12 Conference’s all-defensive team, and the way he attacks the basket has a Russell Westbrook-y type feel. He needs to improve his outside and bulk up, but overall Cunningham is a solid last-first round selection.

Grade: B+

2012-2013 Outlook: It’s difficult to determine what to expect from Dallas heading into next season considering this team will always be considered a contender as long as Nowitski is around. Still, the Western Conference has proven to be loaded with numerous talented teams and if 2012-13 is similar to last season—the Mavericks could be in serious trouble.

Check out all of Rant Sports 2012 NBA Draft Grades from the 1st Round.