For weeks, we heard how much the Dallas Mavericks wanted to trade up to select Luka Doncic, and they did just that. Dallas traded up to the No.3 pick to ensure they would get Doncic in the draft. Let’s take a look at their projected roster and starting lineup with Doncic.
Here’s a look at the current roster and the Mavs projected starting lineup. Keep in mind this includes free agents, so the final roster will look a bit different. Free agents are listed in italics, with their type of free agency in parenthesis. UFA stands for unrestricted free agent. RFA means restricted free agent, meaning the Mavs can match any offer the player receives. PO means there is a player option on his contract.
Dallas Mavericks Roster & Projected Starting Lineup for 2018-19
C- Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell, Nerlens Noel (UFA), Salah Mejri (RFA)
PF- Maxi Kleber, Johnathan Motley, Ray Spalding
SF- Harrison Barnes, Dorian Finney-Smith, Doug McDermott (RFA), Jalen Jones, Kostas Antetokounmpo
SG- Luka Doncic, Wesley Matthews (PO), Kyle Collinsworth, Seth Curry (UFA)
PG- Dennis Smith, Yogi Ferrell (UFA), Jalen Brunson, J.J. Barea
The trade included a future first round pick, but the Mavericks may have gotten the best player in the draft. The big question is how they will play Doncic with Dennis Smith, who they just drafted last summer. Doncic showed signs he could play off-ball in Real Madrid’s post-season run. It seems likely that both will handle the ball, but Doncic will be considered the shooting guard.
Dirk Nowitzki is the best player in Mavs history, and it looks like he will eventually pass the torch to another international star in Doncic. After the draft, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spoke to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon about getting the man they targeted.
We’re very fortunate. Luka Doncic is the guy we targeted in this draft if there was any way possible to do it. … We get a guy that we think is a franchise foundation piece…very refined for a kid who is 19…We’ve got to prepare him for the long haul.
Doncic enters the NBA as one of the most accomplished NBA players in a long time. ESPN’s Mina Kimes explains why Doncic is such an intriguing prospect.
Given his age, Doncic’s production is almost unprecedented; rotations in the EuroLeague run deeper than they do in the NBA, which makes it hard for young players to tally meaningful minutes. (Several executives told me that the typical EuroLeague team would crush collegiate competition.) According to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, Doncic has the highest wins above replacement player (WARP) projection of any European prospect since 2006, when data became available. Based on Pelton’s calculations, which take into account age and how other European prospects’ statistics have translated to NBA production, Doncic’s WARP projection isn’t just higher than Ricky Rubio’s and Nikola Jokic’s — it’s also the highest projection on record, even besting that of a young Anthony Davis.