It isn’t official yet, but the NBA finally looks closer to settling on a date for the 2020 NBA Draft. The league is eyeing November 18 to hold its annual event, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. That gives the Dallas Mavericks two months to figure out at least some of their off-season needs.
Dallas currently holds the No. 18 pick in the first round and the No. 31 selection overall. With those, the Mavs have a number of viable options as to how they can improve the roster. And it should be apparent what positions and skills they need to add.
After an exciting return to the playoffs that saw the Mavericks lose to the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the opening round, it’s clear that Dallas needs to put more talent around Luka Doncic, who carried the team.
Two major concerns for the team are shooting and wing depth. Despite having the best offensive rating in NBA history during the regular season, Dallas couldn’t find much offensive consistency during the playoffs. That’s not to say they didn’t occasionally light up the scoreboard. They did. But outside of a handful of players—Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis (when healthy), Seth Curry, Trey Burke—the team was streaky and it cost them games.
Acquiring players that can knock down open shots, especially three-pointers, when Doncic sets them up is key to the team’s future success. Further, those players must play on both ends of the court and be versatile enough to defend multiple positions.
Against the Clippers, the Mavericks’ lack of size on the perimeter became a problem against the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. Dorian Finney-Smith, Dallas’ go-to wing defender, couldn’t guard all of them at once. It created mismatches throughout the series.
So, the Mavericks’ needs are clear. What isn’t clear is whether the organization will put any stock in building through the draft. Outside of 2018, Dallas displayed an astounding degree of apathy toward drafting players that it could develop.
That year, they traded for Doncic in the first round and acquired Jalen Brunson in the second. Doncic is a star and Brunson is a valuable role player. Yet, they are the only two players the team drafted who are currently on the roster.
Dallas’ other most recent draft selection was Isaiah Roby, whom the team selected in the second round in 2019, after trading back for him. Roby inked the largest contract ever by a second-round pick that August. However, he never saw any playing time with the Mavericks during the regular season. Dallas traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in January 2020.
Given the upward trajectory of the team, led by Doncic and Porzingis, it behooves Dallas to add another young talent that can grow and develop alongside its two stars.
There isn’t a consensus who the Mavericks should take at No. 18. Although, if a player such as Saddiq Bey out of Villanova—where Brunson played—or R.J. Hampton, who plays for the New Zealand Breakers, falls to them, they should pull the trigger. TCU’s Desmond Bane also poses an intriguing prospect.
Their most lucrative asset may be the No. 31 pick. Acquired via trade from the Golden State Warriors, it could hold plenty of trade potential, possibly allowing the Mavericks to move up and make another first-round selection.
The Mavericks’ front office has some big decisions ahead of it this off-season. The 2020 NBA Draft is its first test. The team’s needs are evident. Now, they have a couple of months to finalize their draft board.