Mavs Donuts: Dallas Odds Of Mid-1st Draft Gem

DALLAS - How hard can it be to hold the 13th, 17th or 21st overall pick and make some middle-of-the-first-round hay with it in the NBA Draft? The thesis: Maybe not as hard as the Mavs annually make it look. A study in Mavs Donuts:



DONUT 1: The Ground Rules

Before we grind the Dallas Mavericks to dust because "they don't take the NBA Draft seriously,'' some required reading, we think: It's not that Dallas doesn't "value'' the draft; it's that there have been, in recent seasons especially, very specific values places on its first-round picks ... values that either netted the Mavs players (for better or worse, from Tyson Chandler to Rajon Rondo) or room (the carving of very precise dollars in order to fuel the pursuit of Deron and then Dwight).

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The failures have created a question: "Why Don't The Mavs At Least TRY To Draft?'' Read it here.

DONUT 2: The Mid-First Project

Going into the 2013 Draft, we solicited homework help from our 105.3 The Fan buddy Roy White. Our goal: We wanted to take a look back at past years to see what type of player the Mavs could expect to find at around 13.

Now, we were prescient; we wrote we wanted to, "see what type of player the Mavs could expect to find if they decide to use their No. 13 pick.''

The "if'' was a substantial one, as we semi-predicted; Dallas didn't stay at 13 (where it coulda/woulda taken G A); it shifted backwards to 16 where it selected Shane Larkin (and more importantly at the time) saved money that was ear-marked as room for Dwight Howard.

Larkin helped make the Tyson Chandler trade happen, but that really isn't the point here. The point? What does an NBA team really get when it tries to "build through the draft'' -- the catchphrase used by so many Mavs followers who desire Dallas to strike gold with its mid-late first-round selections.

DONUT 3: The Criteria

All we're looking for here is "serviceable.'' A rotation guy. A non-DoJo, non-Ager, non-Cunningham. And here's our "serviceable'' criteria (the player must satisfy one of the three): they've played, on average, over 60 games per year since they were drafted; They've averaged 25 or more minutes per game in their career; or they average double-digit points per game in their career. We've dubbed these players "serviceable NBA players."

And we've dug through the 2007 Draft through the 2012 Draft -- a six-year sample size -- to draw some conclusions about picks 10 through 16. (Note: the stats below are for each of this players as they entered the 2013 season, meaning the 2007 draftees will have been given a full contract-plus to show their wares. And also note: 10-through-16 isn't the same as 21, where Dallas stands in this year's June 25 NBA Draft. But the point, we think, is still made.)

DONUT 3: The 2007 DRAFT

Five of seven picks turned into serviceable NBA players. None have made an All-Star appearance. The five "serviceables'':

10 - SAC - Spencer Hawes - 420 GP (72 gms/yr), 24 MPG.....9 pts, 6 reb, 2 asts / game

12 - PHI - Thaddeus Young - 437 GP (75 gms/yr), 29 MPG.....13 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast / game

14 - LAC - Al Thornton - 296 GP (51 gms/yr), 28 MPG.....12 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast / game

15 - DET - Rodney Stuckey - 410 GP (71 gms/yr), 29 MPG.....13 pts, 3 reb, 4 asts / game

16 - WAS - Nick Young - 416 GP (72 gms/yr), 23 MPG.....11 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast / game

Notable players drafted after 16: Wilson Chandler (23), Aaron Brooks (26), Tiago Splitter (28), Carl Landry (31), Marc Gasol (48), Ramon Sessions (56)

DONUT 4: The 2008 DRAFT

Six of seven picks turned into useable NBA players. There was (as of 2013) one All-Star Appearance (Brook Lopez). There was a very notable collection of players taken after 16, including Roy Hibbert (17), JaVale McGee (18), Serge Ibaka (24), Darrell Arthur (27), Nikola Pekovic (31), Mario Chalmers (34), De'Andre Jordan (35), Goran Dragic (45). And there were these six "notables'' from 10-to-16:

10 - NJN - Brook Lopez - 325 GP (68 gms/yr), 33 MPG.....18 pts, 7 reb, 1.5 asts / game

11 - IND - Jerryd Bayless - 309 GP (64 gms/yr), 19 MPG.....8 pts, 2 reb, 3 asts / game

12 - SAC - Jason Thompson - 378 GP (79 gms/yr), 27 MPG.....10 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast / game

13 - POR - Brandon Rush - 291 GP (61 gms/yr), 27 MPG.....9 pts, 3.5 reb, 1 ast / game

15 - PHO - Robin Lopez - 324 GP (67 gms/yr), 17 MPG.....7 pts, 4 reb / game

16 - PHI - Marreese Speights - 344 GP (72 gms/yr), 16 MPG.....8 pts, 4.5 reb / game

DONUT 5: The 2009 DRAFT

Four of seven turned into serviceable NBA players. There were, during our study period, no All-Star appearances. Notable players after 16: Jrue Holliday (17), Ty Lawson (18), Jeff Teague (19), Taj Gibson (26), Marcus Thornton (43).

10 - MIL - Brandon Jennings - 291 GP (76 gms/yr), 35 MPG....17 pts, 3.5 reb, 6 asts / game

12 - CHA - Gerald Henderson - 234 GP (61 gms/yr), 26 MPG....11 pts, 3 reb, 2 asts / game

13 - IND - Tyler Hansborough - 246 GP (65 gms/yr), 20 MPG.....9 pts, 5 reb, 0.5 asts / game

15 - DET - Austin Daye - 237 GP (62 gms/yr), 15 MPG.....6 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast / game

DONUT 6: The 2010 DRAFT

Again, four of seven players turn out to be serviceable NBA players. There is one All-Star appearance (George) in the group. Notable players after 16: Eric Bledsoe (18), Jordan Crawford (27), Greivis Vasquez (28), Landry Fields (39), Lance Stephenson (40)

10 - IND - Paul George - 206 GP (73 gms/yr), 30 MPG.....13 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast

13 - TOR - Ed Davis - 212 GP (75 gms/yr), 23 MPG.....7 pts, 6 reb, 1 ast

14 - HOU - Patrick Peterson - 187 GP (67 gms/yr), 22 MPG.....8 pts, 4.5 reb, 1 ast

15 - MIL - Larry Sanders - 183 GP (66 gms/yr), 19 MPG.....6 pts, 5.5 reb, 1 ast

DONUT 7: The 2011 DRAFT

Five of seven turned into serviceable NBA players. No All-Star appearances (during the studied time frame). Notable Players drafted after 16: Iman Shumpert (17), Kenneth Faried (22), Chandler Parsons (38),Isaiah Thomas (60).

10 - MIL - Jimmer Fredette - 130 GP (72 gms/yr), 16 MPG.....7 pts, 1 reb, 1.5 ast

11 - GSW - Klay Thompson - 148 GP (82 gms/yr), 31 MPG.....15 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast

12 - UTA - Alec Burks - 123 GP (68 gms/yr), 17 MPG.....7 pts, 2 reb, 1 ast

13 - PHO - Markieff Morris - 145 GP (80 gms/yr), 21 MPG.....8 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast

15 - IND - Kawhi Leonard - 122 GP (68 gms/yr), 27 MPG.....10 pts, 5.5 reb, 1 ast

16 - PHI - Nikola Vucevic - 128 GP (71 gms/yr), 26 MPG.....10 pts, 9 reb, 1.5 ast

DONUT 8: The 2012 DRAFT

Four of seven turned into serviceable NBA players. No All-Star appearances. Notable Players drafted after 16: Tyler Zeller (77), Jae Crowder (34).

10 - NO - Austin Rivers - 61 GP, 23 MPG.....6 pts, 2 reb, 2 ast

11 - POR - Meyers Leonard - 69 GP, 18 MPG.....5.5 pts, 4 reb, 0.5 ast

14 - MIL - John Henson - 63 GP, 13 MPG.....6 pts, 5 reb, 0.5 ast

15 - PHI - Maurice Harkless - 76 GP, 26 MPG.....8 pts, 4.5 reb, 1 ast

DONUT 9: Study Stat Summary - 'Serviceable'

Of the 42 players selected in this draft range from 2007 to 2012, and including their performances during that time frame, 28 of those selected between 10 and 16 (67 percent) became "serviceable NBA players." So finding a rotation player there? That needs to happen way more than it happens for the Mavs.

DONUT 10: Study Stat Summary - 'Stars'

Of the 42 players selected in this draft range ...

*Just three players (7 percent) - Jennings, Brook Lopez and Klay Thompson - did during the studied time frame average 15+ points in their careers.

*Just six players (14 percent) - Lopez, Vucevic, Ed Davis, Paul George, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes - have averaged six rebounds or more in their career.

*Just four players (10 percent) - Jennings, George, Lopez, and Klay Thompson) - have averaged more than 30 minutes per game.

*And here's the biggie, the one that blows out of the water, we think, the NFL-like notion that the Mavs should quit trying to find their superstar in summer shopping and instead just draft one: Of the 42 players selected in this draft range during this time period, just two made All Star appearances.

That's a league-wide five-percent chance at drafting 10th, or 13th, or 16th ... or, certainly, 21st ... and counting on unearthing a star.

DONUT 11: Not a defense

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And when we discuss it ... if this comes across as a defense of bad drafting ... we're doing a poor job explaining our position. The Mavs have used their picks in some failed ways (carving cap room for free-agent superstars) but that's different from actually botching the pick when it is used. Just because Dallas traded down to a lower doesn't mean Dallas had to take Jared Cunningham, you know?

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In fact, here's another study that we think is worth our time: What is usually available exactly at No. 21?

It's on our to-do list.

DONUT 12: The Final Word

Ultimately, history dictates that it'll be very difficult for Dallas to come up with with a true "difference-maker.'' Yet that the assignment given. And it's what they're working toward with all these first- and second-round prospects who've visited the AAC in recent days. (DB.com has tons of exclusive insight on Mavs draft visitors here.)

We've got the scoop on a philosophical change inside Mavs HQ that could be a determining factor in this draft (and free agency.) For now? You've got the info: Want a star with a mid-first-round pick? You have a five-percent chance. Want a contributor? More doable. This week? No. 21 could end up being swapped out. It could end up being used. It'd be really valuable if it ended up being useful, in some form -- more useful, obviously, than history dictates.

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