Several factors lead Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson to say the Mavericks will, most likely, take a player and not move around with their No. 46 selection in Thursday's NBA Draft. And the mandate for what the Mavs want by evening's end is clear.
"This is phase one of getting the Mavericks back to where we want them to be," Nelson said.
Nelson spoke to reporters at American Airlines Center shortly before the draft began and spoke of what he feels is a bottom-heavy draft.
"This draft is a little light in the first round, but heavy and deep in the second round," Nelson said. "We think we can get a late first-round or early second-round player that might fall to us."
That might lead the Mavs to acquire a player that could have an impact on the court this season, though Nelson made no promises. It's unlikely that player will have the NBA-ready body that last year's first-round pick, Justin Anderson, had. Nelson did say that he and the rest of the front office believes there's a good chance they could get a player that will have an impact down the line.
It’s not the sexiest philosophy going into a draft, but with the Mavs' draft board set Nelson doesn't see much difference in the players that could be available later Thursday evening.
"When you get in the 20-somethings you're kind of looking at the same animals when you get to the 40-somethings," Nelson said. "It's really deep in the second round."
Nelson said they're intent to take the best available player. That could be a more NBA-ready junior or senior, or it could be an international player. There is a factor — one Nelson can't properly predict — that leads him to believe that the valuable international players the Mavs see on their draft board might not be there at No. 46.
"There are many teams in this draft that are in draft-and-stash mode, which means there will be some international players that move up in the draft and pushes those (value) numbers back," Nelson said.
Of course, this being the Mavs and owner Mark Cuban, there's always a chance the Mavs could take a chance and move up for a player they really want. Nelson said they've explored those scenarios and have them ready in case a player they covet falls. Nelson also said that if the international players going early really drives valuable players down the board, the Mavs might even trade back a bit to acquire an extra pick.
But Nelson seemed content with the idea that Dallas would take their one selection and move on to free agency next week. And Fish's story here explains why Dallas leans against a first-round trade-up. Also, while a lot of work was done on building the Big Board, DB.com's scoops on the Mavs and Parsons, Conley and Whiteside went from the last 24 days and 24 hours are now ... well, everywhere. So free agency is a major focus, too.
"We feel good about the area (we're at) and at the end of the day we'll probably just draft," Nelson said.