After their season officially ended with a 100-93 road victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Mavericks were officially able to turn the page on their disappointing 33-49 season. It was a season of a few ups and a lot of downs for Dirk Nowitzki and company, but the Big German and the front office team fronted by Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle will begin to focus on what the team will look like for the 2017-2018 season.
The plus side of the Mavs having their lowest win total since they won 19 during Dirk Nowitzki’s lockout shortened 1998-1999 rookie campaign is that they’ll have their highest first round draft pick since the night they traded for him on draft night 19 years ago. Everyone has seen the mock drafts and has the prospect they love the most, but which one is truly realistic for Mavs fans to hope for based on where the Mavs might pick?
Thanks to the results of Wednesday night’s games, Dallas will head into the draft lottery on May 16th with the 9th best odds at getting the number one overall pick. They’ll have just a 1.70% chance at moving up to the number one pick and only a 6% chance of moving up at all. If they do move up, it will only be to pick 1, 2 or 3.
What have team facing these odds done in recent history?
Denver Nuggets entered the lottery with 9th best odds.
Stayed at number 9; traded pick to the Toronto Raptors.
Charlotte Hornets entered the lottery with 9th best odds.
Stayed at number 9; selected Frank Kaminsky.
Through two seasons: 9.5 PPG in 23.5 minutes per game.
Cleveland Cavaliers entered the lottery with 9th best odds.
Moved up to number one; selected Andrew Wiggins and later traded him to Minnesota for Kevin Love.
Minnesota Timberwolves entered the lottery with 9th best odds.
Stayed at number nine; selected Trey Burke and traded him to Utah for Shabazz Muhammad.
Detroit Pistons entered the lottery with 9th best odds.
Stayed at number nine; selected Andre Drummond.
Through five seasons: 13.3 PPG, 12.8 rebounds per game. 2016 All-Star.
It’s safe to say that the Mavericks will likely be picking 9th, with recent history showing that most teams stay pat after the lottery. However, back in 2014, the Cavaliers won big in the lottery and moved up to the number one pick all the way from the 9th best odds. The same thing actually happened back in 2008 as well when the Chicago Bulls landed the number one pick and selected Derrick Rose. So the big jump from number nine has happened twice in the last decade. There is hope, MFFLs.
The more likely scenario is staying at number 9 and finding the best player there? What do teams usually get at number 9? Here are some examples from the last twenty years.
The Average Guy
Frank Kaminsky (2015): 9.5 PPG in 2 seasons, D.J. Augustin (2008): 9.5 PPG in 10 seasons, Joel Pryzbilla (2000): 6.2 rebounds per game in 13 seasons, Samaki Walker (1996): 5.3 PPG in 10 seasons.
These players are/were solid sole players on teams that any GM would want on their team. Are they going to be All-Stars and sell tickets? No, but they’re just good guys to have on the team.
The “Uh-oh” Guy
Patrick O’Bryant (2006): 2.1 PPG in 90 career games, Mike Sweetney (2003): 233 career games, out of NBA after age 24 season, Rodney White (2001): 3 seasons in NBA.
Coaches and GM’s were probably expecting a bit more from these guys and they simply either didn’t deliver or some circumstances led to them not being offered contracts to continue their NBA careers.
The All-Stars/Future Hall of Famers
Tracy McGrady (1997), Dirk Nowitzki (1998), Shawn Marion (1999), Amar’e Stoudemire (2002), Andre Iguodala (2004), Joakim Noah (2007), DeMar Derozan (2009), Gordon Hayward (2010), Kemba Walker (2011), Andre Drummond (2012)
This is pretty good company. Among this group of players, there’s a combined 37 All Star appearances, 1 Defensive Player of the Year winner (Noah in 2014), 1 MVP award winner (Nowitzki in 2007), 2 Finals MVPs (Nowitzki in 2011 and Iguodala in 2015) and a member of the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Class (McGrady). Not to mention some of the brightest rising talent in the league makes up the latter half of the list.
This is certainly an encouraging thing to note based on the fact that these guys make up half of the players taken at number 9 in the last twenty years. That’s a pretty good conversion rate at finding an All Star at a seemingly risky area to pick in the draft.
So while there’s always the slim chance the Mavericks can move up into the top three in this summer’s draft, the likely scenario is that they stay at number 9 and will have to find something there. Will the next Dirk Nowitzki will be waiting there for them?