Duke’ Luke Kennard is a 6-6 shooting guard who was once considered to be a late-first-round guy but who is now climbing up the charts a bit … and he’s on record as saying he’s got a Dallas Mavericks visit planned.
In this agent-run climate of pre-Draft visits, that’s a bit of a coup for the Mavs.
And they are shooting for five more coups.
Sources tell DallasBasketball.com that the Mavs are angling to get visits from five guys who are certain to be lottery picks: Jonathan Isaac, Malik Monk, Dennis Smith Jr., Donovan Mitchell and Zack Collins, in addition to Kennard.
In order of how I believed they’ll stack up on the Big Board on the night of June 22:
Jonathan Isaac, 6-11 forward, Florida State - My scouts love him. They say he enjoys playing defense and can guard multiple positions, and that only because FSU didn’t feed him the ball did he not score 20 points per. He’s skinny, but that’s the only thing holding him back from a shot at stardom.
Malik Monk, 6-3 combo guard, Kentucky - He might be a Jason Terry play-alike and that’s not a bad thing. But I know Dallas thinks more highly of Frank Ntilikina (see below) and of Isaac than it does Monk. And it is DBcom’s opinion that there would be some redundancy to having Monk and Seth Curry. Maybe, given how difficult it will be, cap-wise, to sign Curry next year, the selection of Monk would indicate a coming trade.
Or maybe Dallas will look at the redundancy and pass on Monk.
Dennis Smith Jr, 6-3 point guard, North Carolina State - The numbers are there. The athleticism is there. They all added up to the shoot-first point guard averaging 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds this season for the Wolfpack as a freshman.
But the Mavs, and every other teams’ scouts that I’ve talked to, wonder about his personality, his “baggage,’’ his inability to lead his team. And Dallas doesn’t really prefer a “shoot-first’’ PG. Nevertheless, like Monk, he's cemented in as one of the 10 guys Dallas thinks is well-worth a top pick.
Donovan Mitchell, 6-3 guard, Louisville -- Mitchell is a defense-first backcourt presence, a 2-guard who is working on his shot. He lacks ideal height for the position but is solidly built at 211 pounds with a 6-10 wingspan.
Zack Collins, 6-11 center, Gonzaga — He’s got skills on both ends, coming on late in the season to become a lottery candidate. I’m told one team views him as a top-seven player in this draft. But that team isn’t the Mavs, who sources tell DBcom would prefer to not “double-up’’ at a center position in which assets are going to be spent on restricted free agent Nerlens Noel.
Luke Kennard, 6-6 shooting guard, Duke - Kennard shot 44 percent on 3-pointers as a sophomore last season at Duke and figures as a prominent role player in the NBA. He is obviously not a consideration at No. 9, but as we’ve demonstrated before, there is great value in this draft in Dallas acquiring a later pick.
There are an assortment of other names that we’ve officially connected to the Mavs, via there meetings at the Combine in Chicago, their agent-run visits in LA, Vegas, Chicago, New York and Virginia, last week’s visits to DFW and, most prominently, the Mavs’ multiple trips to Europe, with point guard Frank Ntilikina as the center of that chase. The details on “The Breakfast Club’’ with Ntilikina is here, and if you click here in DBcom Mavs News Archives, you’ll find volumes of scoop and insight on Dallas’ draft plans.