Dallas Mavericks

Keeping young core players among Mavs’ top off-season priorities

Nerlens Noel is a game-changing young center.
Nerlens Noel is a game-changing young center. AP

They didn’t make the playoffs.

They had a losing record at 33-49.

However, the Dallas Mavericks feel like they built a young foundation that will get even better through the upcoming draft.

It starts with talented center Nerlens Noel, who was an in-season addition through a trade with Philadelphia. Noel is a restricted free agent and a must-get for the Mavericks.

Here’s a look at some of the Mavericks’ off-season priorities:

Noel factor

It’s imperative that the Mavericks match any offer received this summer by Noel, who becomes a restricted free agent on July 1. Noel is a bonafide rim protector and rebounder who will become a complete player once he improves his offensive skills.

Young base

It’s asking way too much to think that all five of the rookies from this season will be on their opening-day roster next fall. But it’s almost a lock that Yogi Ferrell, Nicolas Brussino and Dorian Finney-Smith will be there.

Devin Harris’ role

As a player who has dealt with foot/toe injuries in recent years, guard Devin Harris faces uncertainty again. That’s because the Mavericks hold a team option on him. They also have a major glut in the backcourt, and also might draft a point guard.

Lottery pick

Guaranteed to have a top-10 draft selection, the Mavericks can ill-afford to miss on this pick. It’s their first top-10 draft pick since 1998 when Dirk Nowitzki went No. 9. It’s a deep draft, so the Mavericks should forget about drafting for need and take the best player available and run with it.

Free agent market

The Mavs don’t have to get up to the plate and smash a home run in free agency. But they can’t strikeout, either. A nice centerpiece player comparable to last year when they signed free agent Harrison Barnes will suffice.

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