Mavs At Combine, Narrowing Draft List

The NBA place to be today is Chicago for the combine. The Mavs have a list of 30 names. And then a list of 18. What will the Mavs see when they examine kids like Terrence Ross, Kendall Marshall, Jared Sullinger, Dion Waiters, Austin Rivers and Arnett Moultrie? Here's a visit with GM Donnie Nelson and pre-combine video looks at six prospects deemed worthy of Dallas' pick at No. 17:

There is not yet a to-be-taken-seriously "mock draft'' at Dallas Mavericks headquarters. What there is is a collection of names the club figures might be available at pick No. 17 of the first round (and pick No. 55 of the second), where Dallas is scheduled to make selections.

The picks are as useful as ever in the Dirk Nowitzki Era because of the way the new CBA rewards teams who dig up useful, cheap talent. Therefore, Dallas might be less likely to use its picks as veteran-acquiring throw-ins (though flipping such assets for the likes of, say, Deron Williams, is perfectly acceptable to us.

On June 7 and 8, ESPNU will televise eight hours fo the 2012 NBA Draft Combine, staged at the Flames Athletic Center in Chicago. will chronicle the goings-on, of course, and you will see in the audience Mavs representatives.

More important: There will be no actual basketball. You will see the top 60 prospects engage in activities like the standing vertical leap, the lane agility drill and the 3/4 court sprint.

That's right: It's the Underwear Olympics!

There are interviews, though, and's been told how the process works: Each team submits 30 names of prospects they'd like to interview. Each team is allowed to interview 18 guys. And the interviews can begin on Wednesday night, as is the case with the Mavs staff.

Likely No. 1 pick Anthony Davis will be featured, as will probable high-lotto picks Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilcrist and Harrison Barnes. But the Mavs are not planning on interviewing those guys, or on eventually bringing them to town.

Dallas' focus is a tier down from there, on names like Kendall Marshall, Jared Sullinger, Dion Waiters, Austin Rivers and Arnett Moultrie.

PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

Kendall Marshall (6-4, 197) has a great strength. It isn't his athleticism but his high BBIQ. One issue here: Should Dallas concern itself with whatever it perceives its needs to be at PG, or simply snatch up the best available basketball player at 17?

In terms of pure basketball knowhow, Marshall -- who some think could grow up to be Kidd-like -- seems elite:

PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

Could Dallas use a power forward? As a backup, certainly. Arnett Moultrie (6-10, 230) has a reputation as a scorer. He's also long, with some shot-blocking skills, an area Dallas could use help in. Moultrie seems to be shooting up the list of some teams. In Dallas' case, I'm told there is more information to be gathered on this guy.

SG Dion Waiters, Syracuse

Dion Waiters (6-4, 215) could be even more impressive in this week's workouts than he was on the court, when he was part of a very crowded Orangemen backcourt. He's a little out of control in some ways, and he comes from a Syracuse program where too many guys don't quite make the leap.

G Austin Rivers, Duke

A better scorer than Marshall, but maybe that's because Austin Rivers isn't going to end up as a PG. He also has a high BBIQ and at 6-4 203, is an offensive creator, too. Most teams think he'll play shooting guard. He's very aggressive -- maybe even cocky. But at 19 years old, he has the chance to develop into a driving wing the likes of which Dallas hasn't had since a pre-big-contract Michael Finley.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Jared Sullinger is listed at 6-10, 280. The 280 is right; the combine measurements might reveal that he's closer to 6-8, which might cause some to compare him to Brandon Bass. He's got a polished inside game and a pedigree that had him penciled in as a top-five pick at the start of the year. There are probably conditioning concerns here, but this talent in the teens could be a steal. He's going to be the most polarizing player in this draft, with detractors noting that against long defenders, he can't get his shot off. And he's strictly a 4, not a 3. Somebody will probably take him ahead of Dallas, but ... the Mavs want to be prepared here.

SG Terrence Ross

Terrence Ross is 6-7, and while he has potential on defense, he is a budding star on offense. He knows how to come off screens, is willing to take the big shot, is a pure shooter ... Could he be a tall Jason Terry?

The Mavs traveling party is in Chicago today. So, somewhere in the group on the floor, are an assortment of viable NBA players. At some point after this weekend, is told that the Mavs will bring to the AAC a group of 10 or so guys who might be available at 17 and 10 more who might be available at 55. At that time, the visitors will engage in 3-on-3 games as part of their time in town.

One thing we are fairly certain of: Again, the situation at point guard aside, the Mavs are not, as one headline noted, "Deciding Between Point Guards and Centers.'' They need players, not positions.

"It's about assembling information and then finding athletes who are basketball players,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells "Athletic scorers, athletic ball-handlers, athletic shot-blockers, guys who can create their own shots. That's vague, maybe, but it's intentionally vague, or vague by definition, because the range of guys we can end up liking is that wide.''

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