It appears the Mavericks will have a high lottery pick for the second straight year. Dallas selected Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 9 pick in last year’s draft and should get another talented prospect to pair with him in this draft.
If the Mavs continue at this pace, they should have a top five pick. Check out where the Mavs stand in the lottery race right here.
Here’s a breakdown of where draft experts think the Mavs will pick in this year’s draft and who they might select.
Luka Doncic, G/F, Real Madrid
HoopsHype’s Aran Smith, No. 5 overall pick (April 6): “Doncic is one of Europe’s top overall players, which is unheard of at 19 years of age. It’s no wonder why so many scouts in Europe feel that he should be considered for the first overall pick. And in a lot of drafts, he probably would be. His feel for the game is special for such a young player and he’s got a magical ability to find passing angles and make those around him better. He’s extremely competitive and clutch and never seems to get rattled or lose composure, even in the biggest moments. What he lacks in comparison to the other elite prospects is sheer athleticism. He’s not an overly quick or explosive athlete, so his ceiling isn’t quite as high as the others when you consider defense and ability to create and finish.”
The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre, No. 3 overall pick (March 8): “The hype machine will be in overdrive for months ahead of the draft, and it wouldn’t shock me if Doncic went 1st overall. The Mavericks have an awful roster, among the worst in the league. They’ll be right back here next year barring something lucky in free agency, but Doncic will contend for ROY and be the best scorer on the team.”
NBADraft.net, No. 5 overall pick (March 29)
NBADraft.net’s previous selection: Duke F Marvin Bagley III at No. 3.
Marvin Bagley III, F, Duke
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo, No. 5 overall pick (April 3): “Should Bagley fall here he’d offer strong value, and would be a fascinating frontcourt complement to Dennis Smith in Dallas. He was picked apart by critics as the season went on, but Bagley’s athleticism, offensive potential and rebounding ability give him a strong upside. He can be a ball-watcher on defense and his interior play can be predictable, but at some point there’s no sense looking past his production. Bagley’s best NBA position is probably going to be power forward, but he will need to keep improving as a jump shooter to make that happen. He’s still a very good prospect, and deserves some patience.”
Woo’s previous selection: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr. at No. 7.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell and Matt Ellentuck, No. 4 overall (March 28): “Bagley is so skilled at scoring around the basket. He was unstoppable with one-on-one coverage all year, using a variety of tricks to average 20 points per game in his true freshman season for Duke.
“The question is whether he blocks enough shots to be a center or has the type of perimeter game the modern four now demands.
“A bet on Bagley comes with the idea that he’s just scratching the surface of his skill level. He’s shooting 36 percent from three-point range on 50 attempts this season, but he’s only a 62-percent free-throw shooter. You can see the outline of a playmaking big man who can attack off the dribble for himself and others, but his feel and handle are still developing.
“Finding the right team will be as important with Bagley as any prospect. Bagley is not a shot blocker and he doesn’t have strong defensive instincts right now. He needs a defensive anchor next to him, ideally one who can also stretch the floor.”
O’Donnell’s previous selection: Duke C Wendell Carter at No. 7.
Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman, No. 5 overall pick (April 3): “The Dallas Mavericks have been noncommittal with Nerlens Noel and could look at Mohamed Bamba to anchor their defense.
“Bamba has the potential to change a game with his length in the paint like Rudy Gobert, and he’d give Dennis Smith Jr. an enormous finishing target at the rim, where he shot 74.5 percent.
“At Texas, he flashed glimpses of an over-the-shoulder game and jump shot, but those are the skills he’ll have to improve, along with his body.
“Michael Porter Jr. will get consideration, but between the back surgery and poor performances after returning to Missouri, Dallas should feel more confident in Bamba’s unique defensive presence.”
Wasserman’s previous selection: Real Madrid G/F Luka Doncic at No. 1.
Fan Rag Sports’ Daniel O’Brien, No. 5 overall pick (March 30): “The Longhorns’ one-and-done center is a risk-reward commodity, especially on the offensive end. His possible range of outcomes is vast on that end. On defense, however, his floor is high and his ceiling is astronomical.
“He averaged 4.8 blocks and just 3.4 fouls per 40 minutes this season, and opponents scored just 89.7 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor. His mobility and long reach form a wall around the rim unlike any other prospect.
“The Mavericks will be targeting him high, but he shouldn’t be considered an immediate savior. He will need a couple of years of growing pains before he starts approaching his prime.”
O’Brien’s previous selection: Duke F Marvin Bagley III at No. 5.
UPROXX’s Brad Rowland, No. 7 overall pick (March 12): “Bamba is the final player in my top tier and the Mavs may get a steal here. Injuries (and a mediocre Texas team) have kept Bamba out of the national spotlight but his absurd length draws comparisons to Rudy Gobert in terms of defensive ceiling and he isn’t a stiff on the other end either.”
Sporting News’ Chris Stone, No. 5 overall pick (Feb. 13): “With a 7-9 wingspan, Bamba has the physical tools to one day be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. He averages 5.4 blocks per 40 minutes for Texas and deters a significant number of shots around the rim for the nation’s fifth-ranked defense. There are some questions about his focus and intensity, but none about the ability.”
“On the offensive end, Bamba could help the Mavericks establish a formidable pick-and-roll attack alongside Dennis Smith Jr. The Texas freshman has an impressive catch radius and would force help defenders to make difficult decisions as he crashes towards the rim. He’s even flashed a bit of shooting range with a slow-loading jumper.”
The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks, Kevin O’Connor and Danny Chau, No. 5 overall pick (March 2): “This is a conspiracy. Tjarks clearly selected Jackson with the fourth pick just so Bamba could fall to his hometown team. As an athletic lob threat and rim protector with a 9-foot-6 standing reach, Bamba is a perfect fit for Rick Carlisle’s offensive system. Dennis Smith repeatedly running high pick-and-rolls with Bamba would be pretty freaking invigorating. If Bamba’s perimeter shot translates, he could end up the best player in the draft.”
Michael Porter Jr., F, Missouri
CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave, No. 6 overall pick (March 22): “I believe every player in this mock draft, one through six, and maybe even later, would have been the top-rated player in last season’s draft. While the 2017 draft was marked by its depth, this draft is marked by its stacked top. Porter was my top pick in the preseason. The back surgery makes him too much of an injury risk to take over the handful of other guarantees in this draft, but Porter’s ceiling is high, high, high. Maybe not Kevin Durant, but Porter is a natural scorer. Think of him in the mold of Jayson Tatum, just a tick more talented, a tick bigger, a tick better of a scorer. You could even toss in a little bit of Dirk here. I’ve heard some people say that since Porter’s two-game return from back surgery in March was so disappointing, NBA general managers will knock him for it. That’s nonsense. Scouts have seen Porter’s dynamic offensive game for years; they’re not going to judge him poorly for two subpar collegiate games when he didn’t appear quite physically ready to return.”
Forgrave’s previous selection: Michigan State C Jaren Jackson Jr. at No. 7.
Jaren Jackson Jr., F, Michigan State
Yahoo Sports’ Jordan Schlutz, No. 5 overall pick (April 6): “The youth movement continues for the Mavs. Jackson, a 6-10 jumping jack, is an ideal complement to Dennis Smith Jr. because of his dexterity, quickness and ability to pick-and-pop. As a freshman, he connected on 40 percent of his threes, and his defensive flexibility is a huge plus for a Dallas team that lacks an identity.”
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, No. 4 overall pick (March 28): “Jackson was pretty awful in both of Michigan State’s NCAA Tournament games (by his lofty standards). He averaged four points, six rebounds and a block, and displayed some of the general weaknesses that give scouts pause when evaluating him. While his feel on the defensive end is quite strong, his offensive feel isn’t quite there yet. He struggles with double teams and turnovers, and isn’t a natural passer. Still, he’s the best defensive prospect in the class as a shot-blocking savant, he knocks down shots from distance with terrific touch and he’d fit nicely with Dallas as it transitions out of the Dirk Nowitzki era and into something new under Rick Carlisle.”
Vecenie’s previous selection: Real Madrid G/F Luka Doncic at No. 2.
Collin Sexton, G, Alabama
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, No. 7 overall pick (March 15): “Sexton’s Crimson Tide took a bad turn late and closed the regular season on a five-game losing streak that put their NCAA Tournament hopes in real jeopardy. But it would be foolish to suggest Sexton is the main issue — though him missing 15 of his 17 3-point attempts in that stretch, and lowering his 3-point percentage to 30.6 on the season, was both problematic for Alabama and enlightening for NBA front offices. Nobody questions the 6-3 point guard’s athleticism or aggressiveness — and it was on display in the final seconds of Alabama’s win over Texas A&M in its SEC Tournament opener. But his inability to consistently take over games at this level, and consistently make shots, is a slight source of concern.”
Wendell Carter, C, Duke
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, No. 6 overall pick (March 20): “The Mavs could certainly use help in the frontcourt, and Carter’s basketball IQ and versatility are promising in a number of ways. He is a physically mature big man with a 259-pound frame and a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which will allow him to play the center position in the NBA with ease.
“He is a polished player with excellent hands and touch around the basket and has demonstrated a nice blend of passing, shot-blocking and perimeter shooting, despite being overshadowed at times by fellow big man Marvin Bagley III.”
Givony’s previous selection: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr. at No. 7.