Mavs Draft Visits: Are 3 Wings The Thing?
In certain Dallas Mavericks Summer Shopping scenarios, the pick at No. 21 in the June 25 NBA Draft might be asked to step in and play right away. That could happen at point guard, as we've illustrated at DB.com with our scoop on visits from Tyus Jones, Jerian Grant and Delon Wright. All along, of course, Dallas has some point guard insurance with Devin Harris -- but he isn't locked in for a roster spot, either, again, under certain shuffling scenarios. And when it comes to point guard, over the course of the last few months we've discussed other cheap ideas to address any vacancy, including the retention of JJ Barea, the pursuit of DFW resident Mo Williams and even the popular DB.com Boards ideas of a second stint in Dallas for one-time Mavs prospect Jeremy Lin and a first stint for all-time Mavs prospect Petteri Koponen. (We've meanwhile tapped the brakes on Ty Lawson, knowing the Mavs' thoughts on his knuckleheadness. And we're seeing Pat Beverly as being too expensive to win a bidding contest.)
But it's worth noting that the idea of a drafted rotation player or even a starter also exists at the 2-guard/wing spot -- maybe even more so, because there is not much Devin-like insurance at this position.
Maybe the Mavs had this in mind last Friday when sources tell DB.com they hosted a pre-Draft workout for a trio of wings, all of whom figure to be mid-to-late first-round picks next week. The threesome, and how they might fit:
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF (Arizona - Sophomore). 20 years old. 6'7". 211. Projected to go around 22-to-25.
The two-year starter at the University of Arizona is viewed as a good and aggressive defender -- maybe even with potential to be a "stopper.'' He's not a 2-guard, per se, but more specifically a wing. And as fast and athletic as he is -- a skill that serves him well on offense in terms of driving to the hole, where he ends up helping his team as a 71-percent free-thrower -- Hollis-Jefferson doesn't appear to be a polished perimeter player. He was good for 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per, but ... Can he score from the outside and be that tall 3-and-D guy Dallas might want?
Well, not exactly. His 36-percent shooting on jumpers last year says that's a work in progress, at best. And worse, he was a 21-percent guy from the college three-point arc.
If Dallas bends from the 2-guard idea to just thinking "wing,'' and wishes for an upgrade in defensive aggression, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can be that guy.
Justin Anderson, SF (Virginia - Junior). 21 years old. 6'6". 231. Projected to go around 23-to-27.
Anderson is seen as somebody who could actually play both the 2-guard and the 3. Like Hollis-Jefferson, he's got real defensive skill, but does it in a bigger body and with a 7-foot wingspan. Also like Hollis-Jefferson, he's an explosive runner and jumper.
He may have superior potential as a shooter, though. In his last season in school, he went from being a 42-percent shooter up to 47 percent, and went from hitting 29 percent from the arc to 45 percent (scoring 12.2 points per, with four rebounds). What the Mavs (and others) are trying to determine from these trips down into the AAC basement is how much of that increase is fluky and how much is simply maturation to potential.
R.J. Hunter , SG (Georgia State - Junior). 21.6 years old. 6'6". 185. Projected to go around between 21 and 26.
Offensively, R.J. Hunter fits a Mavs need. He's a 2, he's a shooter, he's smooth ... coach Rick Carlisle likes to say a guy needs to do one thing extremely well to make it in the NBA and R.J. has at least that one thing.
In our look at Hunter when he came through town (and when we had a brief exchange with him) we noted that some of his shooting numbers belie what he's actually capable of. But as Georgia State's only real threat, he was hounded by college defenses. The pure shooting shows up at the line, where he's an 89-percent guy. He even had to play the point at times, demonstrating the load he carried.
There is, frankly, some question of whether he's athletic enough to excel on defense. And he knows he needs to get bulkier. But if you are drafting 21st and you are trying to find a single dimension from a kid where he can really help, Hunter ( 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists) has that dimension.
Obviously, the Mavs haven't limited themselves by position in their pre-draft prep. Note ...
*DB.com's fairly complete list of first-round visitors
*Our individual look at intriguing power forward Montrezl Harrell
*Our second-round scoop with a visitors list that included center Rakeem Christmas
*And our note on the more obscure center from Slovenia, Ziga Dimec ... oh, and get ready for a look at the 7-2 center from India, Satnam Singh, as I'm told he's been hanging with the Mavs, too.
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