The Dallas Mavericks got to work early on their 2022-23 campaign this week as reports surfaced that they have agreed to trade Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Sterling Brown, and Marquese Chriss — along with the 26th pick in this summer’s draft — for Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood. It has been well known since the Mavericks were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals that they would be looking to find another impact center, and it appears they took care of that before the draft or free agency began.
The MMB draft team, myself included, were busy preparing a whole collection of draft coverage prior to Wednesday’s news. Most of that has been made moot by the deal, as the Mavericks do not currently have a pick (though by league rules will still be making a selection for the Rockets). Still, there is always the possibility that the Mavericks jump back into the draft fold by trading or paying their way into a pick.
Though I wouldn’t count on it, if they did it would most likely be for a player in the second round. With that thought in mind here are a handful of players I would keep my eye on when draft night hits on June 23. What can I say, I can’t quit the draft.
Trevor Keels | Guard | 6’5 221lbs | Duke
Keels is a big NBA body for still being under 19 years old entering the draft. There was a long pecking order of star potential on last year’s Duke team, so Keels numbers don’t leap off the page. He has key areas that need improving, especially as a scorer. But he can be physical on both ends when he is engaged. Keels has a foundation there to get him on the floor in the regular season on a solid team that isn’t asking him to do too much.
David Roddy | Forward | 6’6 250lbs | Colorado State
An even bigger NBA body that is more unique but difficult to categorize, David Roddy is the kind of ideal second round flier for the Mavericks. Though he isn’t tall he has the build and length to play a true power forward position in the NBA. He has a high basketball IQ and was an impact scorer in school.
He tested well athletically at the NBA Combine in May, but there were some reports of an iffy showing in scrimmages, which among other reasons likely keeps him as a second round option. He’ll need to improve in space on the defensive end to stick in the league. But his uniqueness — won’t be surprised if many try to compare him to Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams — should give him a shot with a team. With the Mavericks looking to improve forward/wing depth, he would be an intriguing consideration.
Wendell Moore Jr | small-forward | 6’6 213lbs | Duke
If the Mavericks still had the 26th pick the freshman Duke wing was in the top two of my big board, alongside Kansas guard Christian Braun. He is the archetype of wing that every NBA team looks for: can play both ways when engaged, does a little bit of everything, and can be the X factor for important late season wins.
Moore has long arms — a +6” wingspan — with the ability to be a catch-and-shoot option in the half court while still being a confident ball handler and passer. At times he isn’t assertive in a Duke offense with a lot of weapons. But he was also the glue to a young squad. Again, the Mavericks have made it known they want wing depth. And while they likely want to find that through trade or free agency, Moore could be a younger option that could grow with the team.
Christian Koloko | Center | 7′ 221 lbs | Arizona
Koloko’s 7’5 wingspan is a sight to behold. Hey is looooong. His game grew over his time at Arizona, but it’s clear he could be a real and consistent lob threat in an NBA offense day one. The rest of his game, even his jump shot, could continue to evolve while playing as a backup center in a spread offense. The spacing in the NBA will be great for his game, and while he will likely be used a rim-runner he showed flashes of passing ability that may expand what he can do.
It would be interesting to see where Koloko would have been drafted if this class wasn’t packed full of big men. Not because he is a perfect product, but because he has such a clearly defined role made for him as a lob threat and rim protector. The Mavericks just made the move for Christian Wood, but they should be looking for other options for depth and to sooner or later replace Dwight Powell’s minutes.
Jaylin Williams | Power Forward | 6’10 237lbs | Arkansas
Of these five players Williams probably has the widest draft window. I’ve seen him mocked from the mid-20’s all the way to the mid-30’s. It seems unlikely he would still be on the board after the first few picks in the second round, but if he was the Mavericks should think long and hard about trading back in for him. He is a tweener, in terms of position, size, and where his skillset lies. He probably should play center given his lack of a three point shot. But he doesn’t have the size some teams would want in a full time center.
But his playmaking and IQ is off the charts. He is a highly skilled passer and elite charge-taker. It would be easy to see his skillsets used for the Mavericks, even alongside Wood who would space the floor.