Dallas Mavericks

What it means for the Mavericks if Luka Doncic doesn't enter NBA Draft this season

Dallas Mavericks and head coach Rick Carlisle had the No. 37 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
Dallas Mavericks and head coach Rick Carlisle had the No. 37 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night. Special to the Star-Telegram

Everyone expects Luka Doncic to be one of the top two players taken at the 2018 NBA Draft in Chicago.

But after his comments on Thursday, that assumption seems less certain.

"Ι'm not sure if these are the last two games [in Europe]," Doncic, a potential No. 1 overall pick, said at a news conference for the EuroLeague Final Four. "We have yet to make this decision. Perhaps after the season."

So, what does that mean for the Mavericks?

By the conclusion of the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, the franchise dropped down from third to the fifth overall selection.

Doncic and center Deandre Ayton out of Arizona are considered to be locks for the top two picks. But if Doncic waits another year to go pro, then there will be one less player that Mark Cuban and the team's front office can take in the top five.

The reason Doncic's decision could make the process more chaotic is because there is not much separation among the next half-dozen or so prospects.

Coach Rick Carlisle and his team would benefit from a versatile wing scorer or a dynamic big man. Regardless, there are likely one or two players in that three-through-nine group that the team covets.

If Doncic isn't available, the Mavericks might have a more difficult time landing one of those players.

It's also possible that Doncic and his camp are leveraging the Phoenix Suns, who hold the No. 1 overall pick. By threatening to pull out of this draft, Phoenix might agree to select him over Ayton beforehand.

According to a report from Yahoo Sports last month, Doncic did file paperwork to enter the 2018 draft.

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