Mavericks' Draft Target Analysis: The Long Shots

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June 25, 2015 is a day that begins the journey for many future NBA stars. From Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, to D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay, this particular draft is loaded with talent all across the board in all shapes and sizes. While the draft is often a team’s main source of building, the Mavs have a very unfortunate draft history. There are hundreds of articles out on the web mentioning how little Dallas uses the draft, but this year could be much different. Nelson, Cuban, and the Mavericks have both the 21st and the 52nd pick in this summer’s draft and will have plenty of options with that first pick. There is always the high possibility that Dallas will trade the pick for a player or a different pick, but let’s assume they are going to keep it. The Mavericks clearly won’t have the luxury of choosing from the Karl-Anthony Towns’ and Jahlil Okafor’s of the draft, but as mentioned before, this is a very deep draft. As I did with the free agents this summer, I'm going to create a series of articles of who the Mavericks will or should be looking to take with their first pick. This first article is based on the guys that have a chance to free-fall to the 21st spot, but are most likely going to a team picking way before Dallas. If any of these three guys do happen to fall to the Mavs, there should be absolutely no hesitation in choosing them.

Kelly Oubre Jr. 

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Kelly Oubre Jr. is a 6'7 freshman out of Kansas University, one of the basketball power houses of the NCAA. Oubre played about 20 minutes per game in his one year at Kansas and showed an incredible amount of NBA potential. His stats were nothing spectacular: 10 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, and about one assist per game. But looking at this guy on paper doesn't do him justice. He has the size, length, and athleticism to be a spectacular NBA defender and scorer. This freshman can finish at and above the rim. His shooting stroke leaves little to be desired as he shoots about 36% from beyond the arc and has the form to be a knock down shooter at the NBA level. Oubre mainly played small forward in college, but he is more than capable of playing at the 2 spot. I've seen Oubre anywhere from the number 9 pick, all the way down to the 21st spot in expert mock drafts. He is definitely a risky pick for teams selecting in the upper echelon of the first round based on his inconsistent play and not-so-flashy statistics, but if he falls below the 15th pick, many would consider him a steal. Kelly Oubre Jr. is an athletic freak and can shoot the ball when he gets hot, much like Gerald Green or J.R. Smith. Oubre's best case scenario NBA comparison would definitely have to be J.R. Smith. He won't be a star, but he could definitely have his big games and big moments like Smith does. Worst case scenario, Oubre turns out to be like Gerald Green. Green has shown his potential many times, but he just can't stay consistent or find his fit on a team, and this could very well be the case with Oubre if things don't go just right. If Monta Ellis does opt out (and he most likely will), then Kelly Oubre would be a perfect replacement if he can just slide down to 21; but even if Ellis chooses to opt in, then Oubre would be an even better back-up to him or Chandler Parsons. 

Devin Booker

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Devin Booker is another freshman that could watch himself plummet to the 21st spot on draft night. Booker is a 6'6 shooting guard out of the University of Kentucky. Booker is a freshman and happens to be the youngest player to enter the draft this year by over two months. Booker averaged 10 points, 2 boards, and 1 assist while at KU, but his most impressive statistic was his three point shooting percentage. Shooting 41.1% from the three point arc, Booker was deadly when left open. He is very capable of creating his own shot but was much more consistent as a spot of shooter. Dallas has been searching for a "three-and-D" player, and at 6'6, 206 pounds, Devin Booker posses both the size and skill to be a great defender while being an even better three point shooter. The Mavericks will most likely have a major hole to fill at the shooting guard position and Devin Booker could be a perfect filler. Devin Booker has been linked to a few NBA names when being compared, but Klay Thompson has been the biggest. I believe this is a bit of stretch, but it would definitely be the best case scenario for Booker. J.J. Reddick and Danny Green are two guys that remind me more of Booker personally. Whichever of those three guys Devin Booker ends up playing like (if any), then he would be more than welcomed onto Dallas' squad. While Booker is projected to be a middle to late lottery pick, a handful of experts have him plummeting to the mid twenties. 

Cameron Payne

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Not the most flattering picture of Payne, I know, but anyways. Cameron Payne is a 6'2 point guard out of Murray State and is entering the draft as a sophomore. Dallas may have a hole at shooting guard, but we know that they will have a giant hole at point guard. The Mavs currently have Devin Harris officially on the roster as their only point guard, but Raymond Felton has also announced that he will opt into his contract for next season (although they are looking to move him ASAP). Although both Felton and Harris are proven guards, they are much b suited for the backup role. Payne's statistics are by far the best of the three players I have mentioned here: 20.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.8 rebounds. Payne has an awkward shooting motion, which often leads to streaky scoring, but when he gets hot, he gets really hot. Along with his insane scoring ability, Payne can pass with the best of them. He has incredible court vision and knows how to get his teammates involved with ease. Payne's most impressive passing ability comes out when he's lobbing it up to his teammates for an alley-loop, which is perfect for Dallas' offense. Bleacher Report compares Payne to Jarret Jack, but I see him as a mix between Devin Harris and Shaun Livingston. Not a bad combination if you ask me.  

So, if by some improbable, magical stroke of luck, all three of these guys are available, who should Dallas take? In my opinion, I want Oubre or Payne over Booker. Cameron Payne is a perfect point guard for Rick Carlisle's offense and could actually start on day one if necessary. Kelly Oubre Jr. has all of the tools an NBA wing needs and could be a great starting shooting guard or small forward in the NBA one day. Booker can be a great player, but I feel he lacks too much to be able to contribute to an NBA contender in the next year or two. I could be totally wrong on all of these analysis, but based on what I have seen from all three of these guys in college, Payne or Oubre will be the better NBA players. According to Chad Ford, Cameron Payne has a promise from the Oklahoma City Thunder if he happens to fall to them at the fourteen spot, which is very likely. Booker is projected to go to the Charlotte Hornets in most mock drafts since they are in dire need of a pure shooter. Kelly Oubre Jr. is the most likely to fall to Dallas out of these three, but most experts have him going before Dallas gets on the clock. Every Mavs fan better cross their fingers, rub their rabbit foot, and say their prayers on draft night if Dallas should have a legitimate chance at being able to pick from any of these three incredible players.