Mavericks' Draft Target Analysis: The Guards

As Mavs fans, we all know that they are going to need a lot of help at both guard positions this summer. Dallas has not had a steady point guard since Jason Kidd was running the show. Cuban and company struck gold when they signed Monta Ellis a couple of summers ago, but that era seems to be over. Ellis is expected to opt out and according to Tim MacMahon, Dallas will not pursue him if he decides to do so. The Mavs have a chance to find their next starting point guard or shooting guard at the 21st pick, but who will be available? We're going to take a deeper look at the guards that should fall right into Dallas' lap at 21 in this article. Read and enjoy. 

Tyus Jones

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Tyus Jones, the 6'1 point guard out of Duke University, had the most impressive championship game by far. In fact, his stats all year were undeniably good, especially being a freshman. Jones averaged about 12 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds per game all season. Jones shot 38% from the three point line throughout his one year at college and was an incredible playmaker for the Blue Devils. Tyus Jones' game is smooth and he plays smart, but he is a bit undersized. 6'1 is being pretty generous and he only weighs about 190 pounds. Many are fearful that he could turn out to be another Shane Larkin, but overall he was a much better player than Larkin was in college. Jones has the talent and smarts to thrive in Rick Carlisle's offense. Worst case scenario, Tyus Jones does end up like Shane Larkin, which really is not all bad. Best case scenario, Jones turns out to be a player like Mike Conley Jr.: an undersized, defensive minded point guard with good length, above average offense and terrific passing skills. He may be small, but he gets up under the skin of his opponents and plays much bigger than he is. Jones is projected to go anywhere from about 18 (Houston Rockets), down to the 26 spot (San Antonio Spurs): perfect placement for the Mavericks. 

Delon Wright

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Delon Wright, a senior out of Utah, is a much more physically imposing point guard than Tyus Jones and has a much different game. Wright is about 6'6 and weighs 190 pounds, but his height isn't the most intriguing intangible about him to the Mavericks. Dallas is not known for their ability to develop young players, but Wright is a 23 year old senior, which makes him a prime candidate for stepping into a starting role from day 1 for the Mavs. Delon Wright averaged about 15 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds in his senior season at Utah, but his perimeter defense was the most impressive thing about him. Although Wright shot a respectable 35% from beyond the arc, he did not take many threes; he attacked the basket and finished strong when he got there for the majority of his 15 point average. Dallas needs some major help on the rebounding side of things and having a long, athletic rebounding point guard like Wright could help that tremendously. His biggest weakness is definitely his three point game. 35% from three may not sound awful, but translating that to the NBA level will not be easy, at all. Wright has a unique style of play making it tough to compare him to a current NBA player, but he has plenty of upside even at 23 years old. Wright most likely won't go anywhere higher than the 20th pick, mainly because of his age, but that is more than okay with the Mavericks' front office. 

Jerian Grant

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Jerian Grant, the 6'5 point guard, was part of perhaps the most impressive backcourt of the NCAA tournament with Pat Connaughton as his running mate. Grant is leaving Notre Dame as a senior, but he really stepped his game up in his junior season when he averaged about 19 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. His stats last season were not much different, fortunately for him, making him a solid draft candidate. If it weren't for Grant being 22 years old, he may have been a lottery bound pick, but since most teams in the lottery are looking to rebuild around the youngest players possible, Grant could be picked right around 21. Jerian's athleticism and playmaking ability is by far the most impressive part of his game; being able to average 6 assists while still scoring about 20 points per game is not an easy thing to do, but Grant makes it look simple. Grant can explode to the basket for emphatic dunks, he can pull up from mid range and knock down a nice shot, or he can draw the defenders in and kick it out to the next wide open teammate he sees. His three point percentage continues to increase, but he is notorious for his streaky shooting. Defense is also a weaker point in Grant's game, but his athleticism and effort should allow an NBA coach to help improve that facet of his game. Jerian's game is very reflective of Reggie Jackson's but without the ego and selfishness on the court. Grant's projections are about the same as Tyus Jones, giving the Mavs a good chance at seeing him still on the board when they are on the clock. 

R.J. Hunter

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R.J. Hunter, the kid who hit the shot that knocked his father out of his chair, really made a name for himself in this last NCAA tournament. Hunter is a 6'6 junior shooting guard out of Georgia State and has the ability to be a terrific NBA starter. Hunter averaged about 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game last season and shot nearly 40% from downtown in his three years in college. While shooting is definitely Hunter's bread and butter, he is very capable of taking it to the basket with fluidity. R.J. isn't extremely explosive when he gets to the rim, but his attacking looks a lot like Chandler Parsons: smooth and somewhat flashy. Hunter's defense is also a strong point making him a perfect three-and-D player that the Mavs will be looking for in either free agency or this draft. While his shooting took a bit of a dip last season and it was a bit streaky, his play in the tournament revealed his true potential against the top players in the country. Hunter really does not have any apparent weaknesses; he mainly just needs to ensure that his shooting can be just as good in the NBA as it was throughout the tournament. Hunter has the ability to take over the point position if necessary, something that could really come in handy if he happens to be in a Dallas jersey next season and beyond. Hunter's game overall really resembles that of Klay Thompson, and if he can turn out to be anything like him then the Mavericks could be in really good shape. Whether or not Hunter actually develops into a Klay Thompson type player is very dependent on how devoted the team he ends up on is to him. Hunter is said to be very well liked by the Charlotte Hornets who have the 9th overall pick, but it would be hard to imagine a team that high gambling on him with so many other options. If or when he gets past the 9th pick, he has a very good chance at falling to Dallas at 21. 

All of these guards have incredible NBA potential, and all of them make sense for the Mavericks at 21. In my opinion, Jerian Grant and R.J. Hunter make the most sense for Dallas. Jones is a bit too small and is going to take a lot more time to develop than Hunter or Grant would, but I wouldn't be upset with them picking him at 21. Delon Wright is more than ready to step in and contribute to an NBA team, but his unpredictable shooting makes it a bit difficult to tell how well he would fit into Dallas' offense. According to Mike Fisher of, all of these guards have had their pre-draft workouts with the Mavericks, but the only one I have read any kind of report on is R.J. Hunter. He apparently had a very impressive workout with the Mavs and was asked to come back for a second session the next day. Jerian Grant and R.J. Hunter would most likely step into the starting guard role (point or shooting) from day one, and I believe both have a lot to offer. Here's hoping both of them fall to the Mavs, and it comes down to which one they like better. If any of these four prospects do happen to fall to Dallas at the 21st pick, Mavs fans should be ecstatic.