Mavs Source: Koponen Tops PGs Available At 21
The Dallas Mavericks own the No. 21 pick in tonight's NBA Draft. But they also own the rights to Finland native Petteri Koponen. And those two facts are connected.
In the hours before the draft, DB.com is touching base with Mavs sources on the potential of the 6-4 27-year-old, a 2007 first-round draft pick who believes he is ready to make his debut in the NBA in 2015.
We're asking if Koponen is ready to play in the NBA. We're asking if he is a candidate to be a rotation player in Dallas in 2015. And we're asking if Koponen might be seen as superior to any of the point guards who could be available at pick No. 21.
The answers? In the affirmative.
Koponen has essentially been Euro-stashed since his selection. His contract has a buyout section which permits him to leave his team in Russia should he be if offered an NBA contract. The Mavs think he's ready for such a move, having developed as a catch-and-shooter while also learning how to run a team.
I'm not willing to believe anybody in the Mavs organization who might think Koponen is more ready than, say, Indiana's George Hill or DFW native Mo Williams or even erstwhile Mav Jeremy Lin. (By the way, I don't understand at all the suggestion that Dallas is disinterested in a sign-and-trade of Monta Ellis that might bring a player at this position or elsewhere. I'm gonna need Donnie Nelson to explain that one to me.)
But is Koponen more ready to be a Mavs contributor than, say, Tyus, Delon Wright and Jerian Grant? Some inside Mavs HQ had questions about Tyus being a product of a college team with two standout players. The Mavs like Delon and Grant ... but is Koponen more ready to go now?
The Mavs are answering DB.com's question in the affirmative.
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