DALLAS -- In what is perceived to be a draft deep with talent, Donnie Nelson believes the Dallas Mavericks are positioned to pick up a quality player when the NBA holds its annual draft at 6 p.m. Thursday in Newark, N.J.
The Mavs hold the No. 17 and 55th picks in this year's draft.
And considering 10 of its current 15 players are projected to be free agents on July 1, the Mavs could use an abundance of help.
"It's that time of the year where we're looking at everything and the kitchen sink at 17 and trying to figure out who's going to fall where," Nelson, the Mavs' general manager, said. "It's a crazy time of the year, and the coffee machines are working overtime.
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"We should be able to come up with something that can help us. Hopefully it'll be a rotation-type player."
Because of NBA rules, Nelson said he can't mention which players they're pursuing. But the Mavs have strong interest in the Baylor forward duo of Perry Jones III of Duncanville and Quincy Miller, who worked out for the Mavs last Monday.
"They're all on our board," Nelson said. "They're all middle-to-late first-rounders."
Ryan Blake, the senior director of NBA scouting operations, said five players whom the Mavs could consider at No. 17 include Washington shooting guard Terrence Ross, Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie, St. John's small forward Moe Harkless, Illinois center Meyers Leonard and North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall.
Blake, however, believes Jones will be long gone before the Mavs make their first selection.
"You can't find someone like him in this draft," Blake said of Jones. "You've got someone who's 6-11 and can spread the floor.
"His versatility really is his main weapon. He has that elite professional athleticism in terms of foot speed, leaping ability, can score from all spots on the floor, ability to be a great rebounder, and he should be a better shot blocker and I think he will be."
The quality depth of this year's draft, according to Blake, assures the Mavs of receiving an impact player with the No. 17 pick.
"It might be a spot where they look and they go, 'We're at an OK place at 17,'" Blake said.
"People [ahead of the Mavs] are going to make what [Dallas] might consider as mistakes, and it might become an opportunity for the Mavericks."
For his part, Nelson wouldn't say if the Mavs were zeroing in on any one position.
"I can't tell you what position we're looking at," Nelson said. "We're just going to take the best guy that falls. But I like our position. I think we'll be able to get something there."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760