Fork in the Road

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 22, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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Math once again had its day. The Mavs and Lady Luck once again couldn’t connect as they held their pre-lottery spot and hold the 13th pick in this upcoming draft. The draft will be held on June 27.

There was one thing about the lottery that remained consistent when it came to the Mavs as they didn’t move up from their projected spot. That has been the case in each of their 12 appearances in the lottery.

The early analysis of this draft suggests that there isn’t a guaranteed difference maker in the lottery. The goal for any team picking outside of the top five will be to find a player who can slide in your current rotation. Once you get past the top 5 players, there’s certainly depth and value available. After a little bit of a down period, it appears the international pool of players might have more intriguing depth this year.

Even with more depth, history suggests  it’s more likely that the Mavs are likely to find another Courtney Alexander as opposed to a Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. Ten years is enough time to go back and look at what the 13th pick has produced. Here’s the list.

2002 – Marcus Haislip (Fred Jones, Bostjan Nachbar, Jiri Welsch)

2003 – Marcus Banks (Luke Ridnour, Reece Gaines, Troy Bell)

2004 – Sebastian Telfair (Kris Humphries, Al Jefferson, Kirk Snyder)

2005 – Sean May (Rashard McCants, Antoine Wright, Joey Graham)

2006 – Tabho Sefolosha (Ronnie Brewer, Cedric Simmons, Rodney Carney)

2007 – Julian Wright (Al Thorton, Rodney Stuckey, Nick Young)

2008 – Brandon Rush (Anthony Randolph, Robin Lopez, Marreese Speights)

2009 – Tyler Hansbrough (Earl Clark, Austin Daye, James Johnson)

2010 – Ed Davis (Patrick Patterson, Larry Sanders, Luke Babbit)

2011 – Markieff Morris (Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic)

2012 – Kendall Marshall (John Henson, Maurice Harkless, Royce White)

Those listed after pick No. 13 were the guys immediately selected after them at 14, 15 and 16.

There are intriguing names on that collective list, but the list of guys selected at 13 leaves you somewhat dejected.

That leaves you with an alternative for the pick – trade it. That’s what ESPN.com’s Chad Ford is suggesting is an option. Multiple sources have told Ford that the Mavs are likely to trade the pick to help create more cap space, potentially to make a run at a big free agent. Ford suggests that it’s to make a run at Dwight Howard. Honestly, it could be for Howard, or for Chris Paul of for any free agent this summer.

The cap hold for the 13th pick is $1,655,300. That really doesn’t seem like much but pennies add up when you’re saving and that’s clearly the mindset the Mavs and many teams around the league have. Half of the teams around the league are looking to dump salary to either get out of luxury tax issues or just being frugal. The other half of the league views picks as vital assets. Dallas is in a spot where they can be flexible and determine which half they want to be in.

It’s time to go back and remember what Donnie Nelson said at the team’s exit interviews. I asked him if they will consider taking a different approach to the draft, considering they’ll be in the lottery. “We’re still waiting to see who is going to be there come June,” Nelson said. “My gut is that we’ll be as aggressive, if no more so than we’ve ever been. Whether that’s us drafting, acquiring free agents, trade, we will turn over ever rock, believe me.” I don’t know if a front office person can be believed when it comes to the draft or free agency, but he stated they’ll be aggressive when it comes to the draft.

Dallas is in a spot where the No. 13 pick can lead to a player for now or help lead to a bigger piece to the puzzle. They’ve got options and wiggle room. Either route they take, they’ll need to make the most of it.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

  • mac

    As much as I’d like to see Dwight + Dirk along with Marion, OJ/Vince + CP3… I think that Marion can be moved with the 13th as a sweetener if it helps make a pretty great version of that come true. Dirk may be old, but he and Carlisle are the best situation any big time free agents are gonna get this summer. There just aren’t good coaches on teams with cap space.