Mavericks seemingly plan on keeping fifth overall pick in 2018 Draft

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks

For much of the last decade, the Dallas Mavericks have found success as a franchise.

It’s safe to say that last season was an outlier.

Going 24-58, including 15-26 in front of their home fans, the Mavs were one of the worst teams in the entire NBA and finished 13th in the Western Conference.

Earning the No. 5 pick in the upcoming draft as a result, they’ll have the ability to continue their rebuild by adding one of the top prospects in the class. DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr., Mo Bamba, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. and Trae Young will be some of the names that Dallas will be able to consider.

Heading into next season, the Mavericks have a diverse mix of players slated to return. They seem to be building around second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and also have Dorian Finney-Smith under contract. Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell also have deals, as does Harrison Barnes. But veterans Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthers and J.J. Barea are all most likely returning as well.

Since the team has enough cap space to lure a max-contract free agent (like DeMarcus Cousins, for example), it remains unclear as to whether or not the they will use or trade away the fifth pick in exchange for a proven star.

But, judging by general manager Donnie Nelson’s comments on Wednesday, one day ahead of the draft, it seems as though they’ll be calling someone’s name.

“It’s just exciting,” Donnie Nelson said, per Dwain Price of Mavs.com. “We’re looking forward to Thursday. ... It’s some really, really good things in there (in the draft). We feel we’re going to get something really good and we can’t wait until Thursday night.”

Per Price, this will be the highest pick that Dallas has had since the 1994 draft. In that year, they selected future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd.

Therefore, it’s clear that there’s a lot riding on the selection. Dallas’ players understand that.

A defining moment in Dallas’ rebuild

“It’s a big draft, obviously, for the Mavs,” Nowitzki said. “We haven’t had such a high pick in a long, long time, so we obviously want to make it count. … We’ve been having draft workouts here basically for three or four weeks, and scouts and Donnie and everybody in the organization have been looking forward and getting prepared for this moment for a long, long time. So it’s going to be interesting.”

Dallas Mavericks v New York Knicks

“We’ve got the number five pick and I believe that we’re going to do a good job of getting somebody good for our franchise and I’m looking forward to it,” Smith said. “I’m fans of a lot of guys in the draft. … There’s a lot of versatility with the big men in the draft. They’re pretty good defensively, they’re good offensively as well. So, like I said I believe we’ll get somebody that’s good for our team.”

“We’ve got a chance to make a very good selection – whoever that is,” guard Wesley Matthews said. “We’ve got a chance to add to our roster and to build. … And whoever (the fifth pick) is, as soon as they get here we’re going to put him right in the fire. They’ve got to work, they’ve got to grind and they’ve got to compete.”

It will be fascinating to see who Dallas takes with the pick. As always, an unexpected trade could present itself and thus could cause the Mavericks to consider a different possibility, but as it stands, they’ll be making a selection.

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