DONUT 1: THE HISTORY OF 9
The Dallas Mavericks finished a disappointing 33-49, which slots them in at the No. 9 overall pick in the NBA Draft lottery. The last time they picked that low? They netted Dirk Nowitzki. (So, yeah, it was a long time ago.)
This time around, once the draft lottery on May 16 has come and gone, with Dallas holding just a 1.70-percent chance of the No. 1 pick and only a 6-percent chance of moving up at all?
Dallas will draft ninth, in desperate hope of there being another Dirk.
How has recent history treated such a pursuit? What can the Mavs expect to get at No. 9? Let’s review …
DONUT 2: YOU CAN GET AN ALL-STAR
It’s occurred often enough in the last 20 years that it really should be the nail-it goal.
Imagine if you get a Tracy McGrady (1997), a Dirk (1998), a Shawn Marion (1999), an Amar’e Stoudemire (2002), an Andre Iguodala (2004), a Joakim Noah (2007), a DeMar DeRozan (2009), a Gordon Hayward (2010), a Kemba Walker (2011) or an Andre Drummond (2012)?
Heck, if the Mavs had drafted ninth in every offseason over the last eight years, they’d employ DeRozan, Hayward, Walker and Drummond to go with Dirk.
That’d be an elite team.
DONUT 3: DO YOU LUCK UP?
It can happen, despite the aforementioned odds. In the last five drafts, the No. 9 team in ping-pong balls ended up drafting ninth four times. But in 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers entered the lotto at No. 9 but jumped to No. 1, where they picked Andrew Wiggins and later traded him to Minnesota for Kevin Love.
It happened once before in the last 10 years, when in 2008 the Chicago Bulls jumped from 9 to 1 and selected Derrick Rose.
So, yes, Donnie, bring your lucky cowboy boots to the Big Apple.
DONUT 4: DO YOU F— UP?
Well, yeah, that can happen, too.
Rodney White (2001), Mike Sweetney (2003) and Patrick O’Bryant (2006) all experienced short, unproductive careers.
DONUT 5: WHEN DALLAS IS 9
Not counting Dirk, who of course is the result of a draft-day trade with the Bucks, the Mavs have some experience at No. 9.
That experience netted them 1996's Samaki Walker, famous only for his draft-day outfit.
DONUT 6: THE KINDA 9
Robert “Tractor” Traylor was Dallas' actual pick in 1998 at No. 6, though it was part of a pre-arrangement meant to send Dirk Nowitzki (chosen by the Bucks at No. 9) to the Mavs in a trade.
That's a great 9.
Dallas had another, of course.
DONUT 7: THE CLASSIC 9
That would be Rolando Blackman in 1981, picked at No. 9.
In 11 seasons with the Mavs, Blackman was named an All-Star four times and reached the playoffs six times. He was the team’s all-time leading scorer before Nowitzki broke his record in 2008.
Gifted, smooth and classy, then and now.
Oh, if Dallas could only repeat this level of success here ...
DONUT 8: MOST LIKELY? JOURNEYMEN
There is nothing especially wrong with having Joel Pryzbilla (2000) get drafted ninth and playing 13 seasons, or DJ Augustin (2008) or Frank Kaminsky (2015) get drafted ninth and float along as 10-points-per-game scorers.
That seems as viable an outcome here as any … which is why we still bemoan the fact that Dallas declined to accept its possible fate as the No. 6 team in the lotto by losing, say, just two more games over the course of 82.
DONUT 9: NAMING NAMES
We have done a bit of this. You can find Mavs-centric scouting reports and notes on draft-eligible guys by going to News Archives and typing in the name of Ball or Fultz or Fox (who are at one level) or Ntilikina (who Dallas does think might be 9-worthy) and even Hartenstein (who? Yeah, we're on it.)
DONUT 10: WHAT IF?
There is that ever-so-slight chance - 1.70 percent - that the Dallas Mavericks ping-pong ball their way to the No. 1 pick.
They have been there once before.
In 1981, the Mavs had to decide between Isiah Thomas, the 6-1 guard who had guided Indiana to the national collegiate championship, and Mark Aguirre.
The Mavericks, a 15-67 expansion team with Brad Davis succeeding at point guard, opted for Aguirre. ... Mark was good ... but of course, his NBA title came after Dallas traded him.
To the Pistons.
Where he was united with one of his best friends.
DONUT 11: NON-STREAKING
The longest streaks of .500+ seasons in NBA history are as follows:
Jazz, 21 (1983-04)
Spurs, 20 (1997-2017)
Celtics, 19 (1950-1969)
Mavs, 16 (2000-16)
That's right. You, MFFL, quite possibly a citizen of "Entitled Town,'' have just lived through a regular-season success streak that almost mirrors the legendary Celtics. (Minus the multiple titles, of course.) And this? Drafting in the top 10? This is your reward for the end of the streak. You’d sure like to take an advantage of it in a way that precludes you from having to be here again for awhile.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
"I’ve already looked at the top 15 prospects, and it’s a great draft. There’s great opportunity there. I don’t know which player, obviously, at this point we’re going to draft, but we’re going to get a good player. I’m really excited about it.’’ - Rick Carlisle.