With the 2023 NBA Draft under a month away, it’s a good idea to start thinking about which young player (if any) will be putting on the Dallas Mavericks cap on the big night. Dallas will pick tenth in this year’s draft, after avoiding a nightmare scenario where they would’ve had to send the pick to the New York Knicks, as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade from 2019.
There’s been rumors that the team will look to move the pick in an effort to add talent around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, but if they do elect to make a selection they could be adding some size.
In The Ringer’s 2023 NBA Mock Draft, Kevin O’Connor projected the Mavericks to select Houston standout Jarace Walker with their No. 10 overall pick.
“Tanking out of the play-in didn’t work for Dallas to move up in the lottery, but at least it keeps its pick, and now the Mavs will potentially look to trade it,” O’Connor wrote. “After losing Jalen Brunson in free agency for nothing, then trading core pieces from last year’s playoff squad for Kyrie Irving, this team is in a far worse place now, with a terrible defense. If they keep the pick, Walker might help here, providing bulk and versatility. On offense, he would be a great offensive complement to Luka Doncic as a screener and cutter.”
O’Connor compared Walker to both Larry Johnson and Carl Landry. As a player, he described the 19-year-old as “a versatile wrecking ball on defense and skilled playmaker on offense.”
Walker appeared in 36 games for the Cougars, who entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game, while shooting 46.5% from the field and 34.7% from beyond the arc.
He’s a bit too small to play center at 6-foot 8-inches, but Walker’s 7-foot 3-inch wingspan could still make him an effective defender inside at the NBA level.
Mavs ‘Expected to Explore’ Trades for No. 10 Overall Pick
While the idea of adding young talent is always nice, it may not be the most realistic for the Mavericks. They’re coming off of a disappointing season, where they failed to make the postseason at all, not even the Play-In Tournament.
The consensus belief amongst insiders is that Dallas will at least look into moving the pick in favor of a player who can immediately contribute.
Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported last week that the Mavs are “expected to explore the market” for a potential trade involving the No. 10 pick this summer.
“There are other teams rival executives are already pinning as potential trade candidates,” Fischer wrote. “Dallas avoided disaster by landing its top-10 protected pick at the No. 10 spot, and the Mavericks are certainly expected to explore the market for that selection in hopes of adding to their All-Star backcourt of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving, the latter of which will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.”
Nico Harrison Wants to Bring Defense and Rebounding the Mavericks
The likes of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton and Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner have been linked to the Mavericks ahead of the 2023 offseason.
Both represent a combination of defense and rebounding, which are skills that general manager Nico Harrison is hoping to add to the roster.
He told reporters so during his exit interview last month.
“I think for us going into the offseason, the two biggest things that we need to work on is defense and rebounding,” Harrison said via the Dallas Mavericks official YouTube channel. “That’s going to be addressed.”