Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle talk Nowitzki returning for 21st season with Mavs
The Mavericks actually did it.
They finished the 2017-2018 regular season with the third-worst record in the NBA at 24-58. Thanks to a tiebreaker, they now have the third-best odds (29.3 percent) to win the top overall pick at the NBA Lottery selection, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Chicago.
Due to its lottery position, Dallas also cannot fall lower than the sixth overall pick.
In our first mock draft, the Star-Telegram had the the Mavericks selecting Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. with pick No. 5 and Duke guard Grayson Allen with pick No. 33.
Here is an updated guess at what Mavs owner Mark Cuban and the front office will do when the NBA Draft finally does arrive on June 21.
NBA MOCK DRAFT 2.0
1. Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona, 7-0, 260 pounds
Not much has changed here. Think of him as a slightly lesser version of Joel Embiid, with far less injury concerns.
2. Memphis Grizzlies, Luka Doncic, SG, Real Madrid, 6-7, 220
He's floated in the top five all season long. Now, though, there seems to be buzz that he won't drop below here and could steal the top spot at the last minute.
3. Dallas Mavericks, Michael Porter Jr., SF, Missouri, 6-11, 216
He missed all but three games of his lone collegiate season recovering from back surgery and this team needs major offensive and defensive help up front. His upside is just really difficult to ignore.
He's listed at 6-foot 10, but plays like a shooting guard. Porter Jr. might not look totally right in his rookie season, but the Mavericks probably aren't turning things around in one season. And does the organization really believe Harrison Barnes will be part of the ever-elusive "Big Three" when this team does eventually return to relevancy?
4. Atlanta Hawks, Mohammed Bamba, C, Texas, 7-0, 207
Concerns about his shot remain. But his elite defensive potential makes for a nice pairing with offensively-minded power forward John Collins.
5. Orlando Magic, Marvin Bagley III, PF, Duke, 6-11, 235
He struggled mightily on defense at Duke, and those issues will persist into the early part of his career. But Bagley's ability to really score makes him the pick here.
6. Chicago Bulls, Jaren Jackson Jr., PF, Michigan State, 6-11, 240
What a gift for general manager Gar Forman. The team's current centers are 31-year-old Omer Asik and Christiano Felicio.
7. Sacramento Kings, Wendell Carter, C, Duke, 6-10, 263
Trae Young and Collin Sexton are more intriguing players, but the Kings already have De'Aaron Fox at point guard. Carter's offense could make a for a good balance for Willie Cauley-Stein's defense...if he resigns in Sacramento.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from BKN), Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma, 6-2, 180
It's a coin-flip between Young and and Collin Sexton Jr. Whether LeBron stays or goes, this team needs scoring help.
9. New York Knicks, Colin Sexton Jr., PG, Alabama, 6-2, 183
New head coach David Fizdale helped elevate Mike Conley Jr.'s game in Memphis. He should be able to figure out how to balance the Alabama product with Frank Ntilikina.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from LA Lakers), Mikal Bridges, SG, Villanova, 6-7, 210
This marriage makes too much sense. The 76ers need a wing and Bridges made his name playing right down the road.
11. Charlotte Hornets, Miles Bridges, PF, Michigan State, 6-7, 225
The franchise's plans for All-Star guard Kemba Walker will determine the course of action here. If they don't take a guard, they will likely look to find an uprgrade for Frank Kaminsky and Marvin Williams at the power forward position.
12. Los Angeles Clippers (from Detroit), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky, 6-6, 171
Patrick Beverly underwent major major knee surgery last November and will turn 30 in July. Assuming he comes back healthy, he will serve as a mentor to this developmental point guard.
13. Los Angeles Clippers, Robert Williams, C, Texas A&M, 6-8, 240
Los Angeles adds another shot-blocking Aggie to its roster to go along with DeAndre Jordan.
14. Denver Nuggets, Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky, 6-9, 205
He can play small forward and power forward in a small-ball lineup. The team's starters at those positions are 30-year-old Wilson Chandler and 33-year-old Paul Millsap.
15. Washington Wizards, Mitchell Robinson, C, None, 6-11, 215
Again, the 20-year-old didn't play college basketball at all, so it's hard to say how he'll turn out. Starting center Marcin Gortat is 34.
16. Phoenix Suns (from MIA), Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami, 6-4, 192
This could be a reach. But even though the roster has some good, young talent, Phoenix ranked dead last in the NBA in 3-point percentage last season (33.4). Walker gets buckets.
17. Milwaukee Bucks Khyri Thomas, PG/SG, Creighton, 6-3, 200
Guards Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon had abysmal postseasons. Thomas would give whoever the new coach turns out to be a another backcourt option.
18. San Antonio Spurs, Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech, 6-5, 195
Smith will need some coaching, but who better to mold him than Gregg Popovich? His athleticism at both ends of the floor is tantilizing.
19. Atlanta Hawks (from MIN), Jalen Brunson-Villanova, 6-2, 200
Dennis Schroder could be trade bait next season. Brunson's ceiling isn't all that high, but it's so hard to ignore how clutch he was at Villanova.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from OKC via UTA) Gary Trent Jr., SG, Duke, 6-6, 209
This could be one of the last picks of the Tom Thibodeau era. The Timberwolves' head coach will love his defensive abilities and effort.
21. Utah Jazz, Jontay Porter, C, Missouri, 6-11, 215
He's the younger brother of Michael Porter Jr. He's just no quite as skilled.
22. Chicago Bulls (from NO), Dzanan Musa, SF, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6-8, 190
He needs to put on a good amount of weight. Chicago is in need of creativity on offense.
23. Indiana Pacers, Trevon Duval, PG, Duke; 6-3, 193
The Pacers need a solid, plug-and-play point guard. Duval earned a ton of reps playing for Coach K.
24. Portland Trail Blazers, Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State, 6-4, 180
His stock dipped a bit at the end of the season. He could benefit from some time under Damien Lillard.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (from CLE), Anfernee Simmons, PG, IMG Academy
A steal here for Magic Johnson. He is coming off a post-graduate year in high school, which makes him eligible.
26. Philadelphia 76ers, Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State
Arguably the biggest wild-card in the draft. Some project him in the middle third of Roudn 1, while others have him going in the second.
27. Boston Celtics, Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA, 6-1, 185
Scouting reports view him as a versatile role player in the NBA. Sounds like a good pick-up for Brad Stevens.
28. Golden State Warriors, Jacob Evans, SG, Cincinnati, 6-6, 210
The 20-year-old led the Bearcats in scoring last season. He'd have time to mature on Golden State's bench.
29. Brooklyn Nets (from TOR), Chemize Metu, PF, USC, 6-11, 225
Brooklyn desperately needs scoring help at the power forward spot. Metu has ideal frame for a stretch-four.
30. Atlanta Hawks (from HOU via LAC), Grayson Allen, SG, Duke, 6-4, 185
In our last draft he fell to the Mavericks in the second round. The Hawks need his shooting.
Bonus second-round selection:
34. Dallas Mavericks, Shake Milton, SG, SMU, 6-6, 205
The organization has indicated its preference is to bring back shooting guard Seth Curry, who missed almost the entirety of this past season recovering from leg surgery back in the fall. But if another team takes a chance on the Duke product, the Mavericks need a backup plan.
Milton has the necessary height to play shooting guard in today's game. He also has the potential to add to his already impressive set of offensive skills. Rick Carlisle has the potential to get him to that next level.