Mac Engel

Hoping for a Mavericks’ draft that lands a Big Baller

Daddy’s mouth is so large and drawn to the cameras it can be confused for that of a certain Cuban, and so big it could potentially work to the advantage of the Dallas Mavericks.

UCLA guard Lonzo Ball is not a big baller yet, and he’s more famous for his dad’s mouth spewing the preposterous, but if somehow the Mavs can get him they should run over whomever to do so. Even if a Lonzo comes with a LaVar and those $500 Big Baller high tops and $220 sandals.

Yes, Lonzo Ball to the Mavs is a bit of a dream, but this is the time where such hopes can breathe.

The NBA draft is Thursday, June 22, and it’s relevant in our house for the first time this century. A team that has ignored the draft unlike no other since Mark Cuban bought the franchise has a precious lottery pick.

Considering how poorly the Mavs have executed Cuban’s smartest-guy-in-the-room post-NBA-title team-building plan established in 2011, they can’t blow this one. We know now after so many rejections that top-tier free agents don’t consider Cuban anything special.

We’re just another Middle Earth team, the difference being our owner is an established political pundit.

Before he became CNN’s best friend, the big reason he looked smart as a basketball owner is that he inherited a big German with the sweetest of shots.

Said big German is now an old German, and the only way Cuban is going to look basketball smart is if he lands a real player again.

Wes Matthews doesn’t count.

Ball would.

The Mavs have the ninth overall pick, and Ball is not expected to fall that far. If there is a way, the Mavs need to get him, even if it comes with the large piece of baggage that is his dad.

Moving up, or down, can happen. In 1998, the Mavs drafted Michigan center Robert “Tractor” Traylor with the sixth pick and traded him to Milwaukee for the ninth selection, Dirk Nowitzki, and 19th pick, Pat Garrity.

As Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown repeatedly said, “God makes point guards and centers” — and the Mavs have a center.

The trade for Nerlens Noel late last season gives them a young big man in the middle who can run the floor, guard the rim and roll to the basket. As a restricted free agent, the Mavs will have to overpay to keep Noel, which they will.

There was no reason to make that trade if the team had minimal intention of trying to keep him.

What they don’t have, and have not had since Jason Kidd, is a point guard. The version of Deron Williams the Mavs had doesn’t count.

Lonzo Ball is a point guard who is tall enough to pass as a shooting guard. He can learn to shoot, but no one can teach his ability to see the floor and put the ball where a shooter needs it.

When it comes to his vision, the best comparison is Kidd when he was in college at Cal.

Ball is a 6-foot-6 point guard whose stock is in question only because of his father. The best player in the draft is Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, but the class is regarded by “experts” as so deep that the No. 2 selection is in doubt.

Lonzo should be the easy No. 2 selection for his hometown Lakers, but daddy LaVar Ball has hijacked the entire “draft season” with the unearned bravado of a teenager after his first beer, the hyperbole of a Trump tweet and demands that teams may actually be deterred from selecting his kid.

Dad will make the headlines first, but Lonzo will later.

Whether it was acquiring Dennis Rodman, dealing for Lamar Odom and the Kardashians or signing Tony Romo, Cuban is not afraid of adding a player who will make a headline for reasons outside of ball.

And, provided the player plays hard and is a pro, coach Rick Carlisle will tune out daddy by hardly acknowledging him or his delusional paranoid soccer-mom rhetoric.

There are so many players in this class it means not even Cuban could blow this layup of adding a real player to a roster that badly needs one.

If Ball is gone, don’t be surprised if the Mavs select Frank Ntilikina. He’s a 6-foot-5 point guard who is 18 but what you need to know above all else is that he’s French.

No NBA team, with the exception of the one in San Antonio, loves the Euros more than the Mavs.

This team has no shortage of needs. Whomever they pick should immediately play to fill a void.

Preferably that void will be filled by a Big Baller, even if it means it comes with his gasbag daddy.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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