Slight Delays

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 29, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 9 Comments to Read

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Draft night has come and gone, but the urge to instantly evaluate the Mavericks’ performance remains. That doesn’t make such a review any less impossible, but it certainly adds noise to what should already make for an incredibly chaotic off-season.

If you’re in the minority who can accurately speak to the specifics in the games of Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, and Jae Crowder — much less the even more extreme minority who can feasibly predict how any of the above might pan out against NBA competition — then by all means: chatter away. But if you’re in the other, significantly larger camp, I suggest that you — and we — table our judgment. We have an entire off-season, the full run of summer league, a training camp, a preseason, and a good chunk of regular season competition to go before we can even begin to determine what each new Maverick is capable of — and that’s assuming that James and Crowder stick around to make the roster in the first place.

The point being: at this stage, we’re operating solely on glimpses and guesswork, and while the latter may be an inevitability in all efforts to estimate the talents of basketball prospects, the former can be remedied with a bit of patience and diligence. Dallas’ draft-night deal only needs to be evaluated immediately if we arbitrarily deem it so, when more realistically, we’ll have a clearer vision of what this trade meant in due time.

What we do know — with far more certainty — is that by way of trading Kelenna Azubuike to the Cavaliers in the exchange of the 17th pick for the 24th, 33rd, and 34th picks, Dallas has opened up approximately $1.4 million in cap space for the free agent cause (depending on Cunningham’s exact salary), and obtained the rights to two players without adding any cap holds for this summer. Even if James and Crowder don’t make the team this season, they won’t even bear the slightest financial limitation to the Mavs, making them precisely the kind of assets that Dallas needs at this particular point in time. The spotlight is rightfully on free agency, and by the time we clear July’s mayhem, the Mavericks may very well be in need of affordable players to fill out the roster. The acquisition of multiple second round picks — at only the cost of moving from 17 to 24 in the first round — set Dallas up perfectly for that possibility.

  • Kirk Henderson

    Given the history, tabling judgement is hard to do since Donnie seems to underwhelm with obnoxious frequency come draft time. Take a look at the Dallas draft history here (as I'm sure you already have)…… 

    Since trading for Dirk, the only player the Mavs have kept who they actually drafted and who wasn't a terrible basketball player was Josh Howard. His rate of return for his draft spot was really great (29th over all pick). So in 14 years, Dallas has one draft pick they made who has performed well. Granted, they've made trades for good players (Harris was solid, Roddy was a homerun until it became clear he isn't going to get better) so this isnt a total loss. But if we are evaluating draft performance in a vacuum? Dallas is terrible. 

    Part of it has to do with trades that were made in the off-season (recently trades for Kidd and Odom have resulted in no 1st rounders in 2008, 2010, and next years draft) but at some point this team needs a real infusion of youthful talent.  Roddy and Wright were the only players of any note under 25 on the roster. Roddy has hit his ceiling and Wright is a niche player at best (even though I love him). This is a clear problem.

    Dallas has to offer Deron Williams something other than Dirk and basketball culture. He and his agent can read the CBA just like everyone else. As of right this moment there are 6 total players on the Dallas team. Amestying Haywood to get Deron that max deal brings that total to 5 (Dirk, Marion, Roddy, DoJo, Wright).  How is that 5 a selling point? Who else can they reasonably sign? Is it REALLY better than the $20 million more Brooklyn can offer Deron? We're going to make that gamble and feel good about it?

    I, for one, do not. I trust the Dallas front office to make good moves over all. But when it comes to drafting, they get a little to cute for thier own good. While I happen to like the two second round guys, I won't be moving past the first round pick of Cunningham any time soon. Some of the folks referred to him as a mashup of Roddy and DoJo. That is not good, since neither of them are particularly good rotation players.  

    The gamble for Williams is huge. If it fails, we will be subject to seeing an aging Dirk fight against the tide as the team slowly crumbles. The West is an arms race and as of this moment, the Mavs took another step back last night.

    • Chill Chad Stanton

      This. I'm tired of saying “who?” every draft night. We consistently pass up on players who's games are known. There are no guarantees either way but jeez do we have to get cute every draft. Especially after hearing how this is “the most important Mavs draft in a decade”. I hope Cunningham is the Westbrook type player Carlisle thinks he is but I'd have felt more confident in a Perry Jones III. 

      • @Optahunt

        Rob has it right. Every draft in every sorry I get annoyed by ask the reactionary fanatics who think they smarter (and somehow better informed!) than the front office of their favorite team. This is doubly irritating when the front office in question is coming of a decade of excellence, including a championship.
        There have been many times fans said “who” and the player in question went on to a very successful career. I remember people asking why on earth the Mavs picked a German in the first round, for Pete's sale.

        • @Optahunt

          Wow, sorry for all the autocorrect and typo issues. Hope my point still got across.

        • Chill Chad Stanton

          I'm sorry but given the Mavericks recent draft history I don't think it's reactionary to not have faith in the Mavericks finding talent in the late 1st round and 2nd. When your list of draft successes over the last ten years reads: Josh Howard. I think it's quite reasonable to question your draft strategy.

  • Jrccompany

    Finally a voice of reason. Great article!

  • Kyle Shook

    So zeller would have been good, cunningham is bad, and jae crowder is beast and I hope to goodness carlisle gives him playing time

  • Jaysen T. Runnels

    Lets just admit it. Dallas sucks when it comes to drafting players. At first I was upset when the Mavs picked Tyler Zeller over PJ3 or Terrance Jones. Then I became even more frustrated when we gave him away for the 24th pick.
    Let me say something bold now 
    so we essentially gave our pick away to pick 7 spots later 
    Then to top it all off we draft Jared Cunningham instead of PJ3 again.
    For this draft the Mavs receive a F

  • Nate

    I think this was actually a solid draft for Dallas.  Think of it this way; Dallas currently has Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, and Brendan Haywood at the SG, SF, and C positions.  Ideally, it looks like Dallas tried drafting their future replacements, as all of their three draftees play similar styles to those they could replace.

    Cunningham is a high flying shooter who loves slashing and finishing hard at the rim.  He can stroke it from deep and has decent 1-on-1 skills.  Sound familiar to a younger Vince Carter (albiet 20 lbs of muscle)?

    Crowder is a stat-sheet stuff.  He likes fighting for boards, gets plenty of points on putbacks, can run on the fast break, and has a decent long-range shot.  Sound familiar to a younger Shawn Marion?

    Bernard James has a limited offensive game, but is a big man to clog the paint as people try to score down low.  He was really only drafted for his defensive presence, as he went to Florida State (the college basketball defensive capital of the world).  Sound familiar to a younger Brendan Haywood?

    Dallas did a great job finding young replacements for three of their current starters.  Give these players a year to learn from the current incumbants, and Dirk will shortly be surrounded by hard-nosed players who will help him make another serious run at the title.  And if you still want to think of the here and now, Cunningham, James and Crowder give you three more-than-capable backups to chew up minutes for the veterans throughout the season to help save mileage on the vet's bodies, while allowing the young guns to get great experience on the court.

    Also, I second the comment about Crowder being an absolute beast.  Think Kenneth “Manimal” Faried's kid cousin.  He's a stealing machine on defense, and a double-double threat off the bench easily every single night.  There's a reason he was the Big East Player of the Year.