Headed into the 2018 NBA Draft it was speculated the Dallas Mavericks wanted to draft Slovenian guard, Luka Doncic, as their first round pick ignoring draft experts advice who said they should draft a post player. The only problem was the 6-foot-8-inch 228 pound Doncic was projected to be picked in the top three. Therefore, the Mavericks were going to have to negotiate a trade with a top 3 team. They did exactly that.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Doncic with their third overall pick. The Hawks quickly traded the draft rights for Doncic to the Mavericks for their fifth overall pick. The Mavericks selected Oklahoma point guard, Trae Young, with their pick.
This is a great pick by the Mavericks as Doncic is going to be the heir apparent to Dirk Nowitzki as the face of the franchise for many years. He should be able to fit the Mavericks offensive system to a t. According to the offensive philosophy of head coach, Rick Carlisle, a greater emphasis is placed on various ball handlers and Doncic is an excellent ball-handler.
Other ways the Mavericks can utilize Doncic’s skill set to make the rest of the team better is to run more pick and roll as he is great off the pick and roll and off the dribble. He also has great court awareness and a high basketball IQ. Paired with second-year pro, Dennis Smith Jr., the two could form a dangerous duo.
Last season with Real Madrid in the Euro League, Doncic averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game.
With strengths comes weaknesses. Doncic weaknesses include his lack of explosiveness and defensive skill set which could affect him guarding quicker wings in the NBA. Doncic is also prone to turnovers (2.2) and has low three-point percentage as he shot around 30% last season. If Doncic can work on those things, he can become an All-Star and even a superstar.
The future kept getting brighter for the Mavericks as they selected, Villanova point guard, Jalen Brunson. A two-time National champion at Villanova, the 6-foot-2-inch 198 pound Brunson gives them a reliable back up at point guard. Like Doncic, Brunson is a great shooter and passer. He also possesses great court awareness. Brunson also needs to work on his defense.
Later on in the second round, the Mavericks drafted local product Shake Milton, shooting guard out of SMU. The Mavericks then, traded Milton to the Philadelphia 76ers for two picks, Ray Spalding, Louisville power forward and Dayton forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, the brother of NBA sensation, Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
These two particular players have great length at 6-foot-10-inches but they still have work to do. They might have to start out in the G-League as they both need to work on their aggressiveness and toughness. In addition, the two need to get stronger and fill out their frame a little more. If they can work on this they should be able to be great rim protectors and defenders in the NBA.
Overall the Mavericks had a good draft and they should be able to work with those prospects and fix their weaknesses. All they just have to do is go after a post player in free agency like DeMarcus Cousins or DeAndre Jordan. Julius Randle is also a possibility. If the Mavericks if they can do those things then the will be headed in the right direction.