As NBA Draft excitement goes, there’s probably not much to be excited about when a team’s lone draft pick is the No. 46 overall selection.
But Donnie Nelson begs to differ.
As the president of basketball operations and general manager of the Dallas Mavericks, Nelson will be at the forefront of the decision whomever the Mavericks pick Thursday night. He believes the Mavericks can land a player who can possibly become a rotation player as a rookie.
I’m excited to see what we’re going to get because I know for a middle, second-round pick we’re in a very target-rich zone that historically has been somewhat talent free.”
Donnie Nelson, Mavericks president of basketball operations and general manager
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“I’m excited to see what we’re going to get because I know for a middle, second-round pick we’re in a very target-rich zone that historically has been somewhat talent-free,” Nelson said. “So we should be able to come up with something really good.
“You’re probably looking at the same level [of player] from 25 to 45. It’s really deep in the second round, and there are a lot of international guys [who] could also cause some [American-born] players to fall, so we feel real good about 46.”
The draft starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, and the players who had the most impressive pre-draft workouts for the Mavericks include Florida small forward Dorian Finney-Smith (6-foot-8, 220 pounds), Kentucky small forward Alex Poythress (6-8, 238), Indiana small forward Troy Williams (6-7, 218) and California point guard Tyrone Wallace (6-5, 205).
The draft hasn’t exactly been kind to the Mavericks in recent years. Of the Mavericks’ past 20 draft picks since 2003, small forward Josh Howard is the only player who has participated in an All-Star game.
Drafted 29th overall in the first round in 2003 out of Wake Forest, Howard was the last pick of the first round and was in the same draft class that produced first-round picks LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins and Leandro Barbosa.
The Mavericks drafted Justin Anderson with the 21st pick last year and 7-foot-2 19-year-old Satnam Singh with 52nd pick.
Since then, the Mavericks haven’t exactly hit the draft jackpot. But they did make a huge find last year when they drafted forward/guard Justin Anderson out of Virginia with the 21st overall pick.
After a slow start last season, Anderson used his athleticism, defensive skills and rebounding abilities to play a key role in the team’s late playoff push.
“We think Justin really has taken the next step,” Nelson said. “We knew when we drafted him we had a great kid that had our DNA, was athletic and an above-the-rim, power-type player at [shooting guard] or [small forward] that was missing a little bit to the point with the shot-making and release with the range.
“But he worked diligently on that all year, and we saw that really during crunch-time minutes of the playoffs. So we’re really excited about the future of Justin and adding some other young players to the mix that would make him fight for minutes.”
With the 52nd pick last year, the Mavericks drafted 19-year-old Satnam Singh. But his claim to fame is that he’s 7-2 and 290 pounds and was the first Indian-born player drafted in the NBA.
Singh spent last season with the Texas Legends of the National Basketball Development League.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks haven’t totally ruled out making a trade to move into the first round.
“That would probably be a long shot,” Nelson said. “You never say never, but I think we’re really happy with our area, and we know we’re going to get something really good.
“But you know we’ll be active. We’re always active.”
6 tonight, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., ESPN
2. LA Lakers
3. Boston (from Brooklyn)
6. New Orleans
7. Denver (from New York)
9. Toronto (from Denver via New York)
13. Phoenix (from Washington)
15. Denver (from Houston)
16. Boston (from Dallas)
19. Denver (from Portland)
24. Philadelphia (from Miami via Cleveland)
25. LA Clippers
26. Philadelphia (from Okla. City via Denver and Cleveland)
28. Phoenix (From Cleveland via Boston)
29. San Antonio
30. Golden State
31. Boston (from Philadelphia via Miami)
32. LA Lakers
33. LA CLippers (From Brooklyn)
35. Boston (from Minnesota via Phoenix)
36. Milwaukee (from New Orl. via Sac.)
37. Houston (from NY via Sac and Por)
39. New Orleans (Denver via Philadelphia)
40. New Orleans (from Sacramento)
44. Atlanta (from Washington)
45. Boston (from Memphis via Dallas)
47. Orlando (from Chicago)
48. Chicago (from Portland via Cleveland)
51. Boston (from Miami)
52. Utah (from Boston via Memphis)
53. Denver (from Charlotte via Okla. City)
55. Brooklyn (from LA Clippers)
56. Denver (from Oklahoma City)
57. Memphis (from Toronto)
58. Boston (from Cleveland)
59. Sacramento (from San Antonio)
60. Utah (from Golden State)