Dallas Mavericks: 2012 Mavs Draft Preview

Draft preview: Royce White

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
12:01
AM CT
video Last of a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on Thursday. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

From a purely physical standpoint, players like this just don't grow on trees. Royce White possesses a LeBron-like physique, and his skills aren't bad either.

Off the court, White might be the most complex person in the draft. He's had a number of incidents, left Minnesota during his freshman season after being suspended indefinitely, couldn't get on a plane for a recruiting visit to Kentucky because of an anxiety disorder and then nearly led Iowa State to an upset of Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.

He has told NBA personnel that is bad-boy days are over, that he's on the straight and narrow.

For a man his size, White seems to defy the trappings of a single position. He can handle the ball, score from anywhere on the floor, pass it and rebound.

ESPN.com's Chad Ford reported last week that White had ended all workouts and had strangely gone quiet, supposedly having a "promise" from a team that plans to pick him. The team that came to the forefront, Ford reported, was the Boston Celtics at No. 21, and the Atlanta Hawks at No. 23 may have interest, as well.

That means White would be on the board when the Mavs pick. Depending who else is, Dallas might not be able to pass up White's rare package of size and talent.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

[+] EnlargeRoyce White
Michael C. Johnson/US PresswireIowa State forward Royce White has impressive size and good all-around skills, but he also has battled anxiety disorder.
ROYCE WHITE
School: Iowa State (1 year)
Position: SF
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-8/261
2011-12 stats: 13.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 53.4% FG

Why he would fit: Dirk Nowitzki has talked till he's blue in the face about needing playmakers, guys that can create their own shot and score the basketball. Not many come with this type of body.

Why he wouldn't fit: At this stage of trying to put a team around Nowitzki that can contend, the Mavs might not want to get involved with a young player dealing with an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Physical, athletic forward ... Point forward type of player ... NBA body, strong ... Can score inside and outside ... Excellent ball-handler ... Great passer for someone his size ... Good rebounder. Down -- Suffers from anxiety disorder ... Has a serious fear of flying ... Off-court issues ... Old for his class ... Inconsistent shooter.

Coop's comment: The comparison you hear most is to former Knick Anthony Mason. Outstanding all-around skills; knows how to get his shot up and score. A superb passer, especially out of the low post. The Mavericks have not had a player who passes this well out of the post since Mark Aguirre. However, he is a poor free throw shooter and there are the huge questions about his fear of flying. He seems to have allayed a lot of fears about that and his dismissal from Minnesota at the combine.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Quincy Miller, Baylor
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Austin Rivers, Duke
Terrence Ross, Washington

Draft preview: Terrence Ross

June, 27, 2012
6/27/12
1:45
AM CT
video Eighth in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on Thursday. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

The Pac-12 was so bad last season that Terrence Ross probably didn't get his proper due.

At 6-foot-7, he's a prototypical NBA shooting guard. Combine his quickness, athleticism, shooting ability and improving defensive chops, he should be able to slip into a rotation immediately.

With plenty of holes on the Mavs' roster and no way of knowing who will and who won't be on the roster until Deron Williams makes up his mind once free agency starts Sunday, finding a player that you know can fill a rotation spot from the jump is critical this year.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

[+] EnlargeTerrence Ross
AP Photo/George Holland/CSMTerrence Ross is an excellent shooter with good range and athleticism.
TERRENCE ROSS
School: Washington (2 years)
Position: SG
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-7/197
2011-12 stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 37.1% 3FGs

Why he would fit: Like Austin Rivers, Ross has the size, athleticism and scoring ability Dallas has long craved at shooting guard. He's also developed a defensive reputation and would give Shawn Marion needed help against top wing players.

Why he wouldn't fit: While other shooting guards have been receiving more attention, it's still doubtful that Ross will slide all the way down to the Mavs at No. 17.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Explosive athlete ... Excellent shooter with range ... Very good leaper ... Can get to the basket with a quick first step. Down -- Needs to improve his handle, shot selection ... Needs to add an in-between game ... Can sometime overly defer to teammates ... Needs to add strength.

Coop's comment: Ross can really shoot it, and observers tell me he comes off screens as well as anyone. But there is no handle in his game and thus very few drives to the basket to try to draw fouls. He has very good length at 6-foot-7 and almost 200 pounds, and there are those who believe he has the ability to be an elite defender, as well.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Quincy Miller, Baylor
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Austin Rivers, Duke

Draft preview: Austin Rivers

June, 26, 2012
6/26/12
12:01
AM CT
video
Seventh in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on Thursday. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

One thing you know about the kid is that he'll be coachable, and Rick Carlisle loves to coach, so this could be a really good pairing for many years to come.

The son of Boston Celtics coach and former NBA point guard Doc Rivers and schooled under -- for one year anyway -- Duke and U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, Austin Rivers is intelligent and talented, although he isn't quite as seasoned as he might be with one more season playing at Cameron Indoor.

Still, how long now has Dallas been searching for that combination of size and playmaking ability at shooting guard? A long, long time.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

[+] EnlargeDuke's Austin Rivers
Brian Spurlock/US PRESSWIREThe Mavs could use a slashing shooting guard like Duke's Austin Rivers, but he might not be around at No. 17.
AUSTIN RIVERS
School: Duke (1 year)
Position: SG
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-5/203
2011-12 stats: 15.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 36.5% 3FG

Why he would fit: Shooting guard is a position in total flux at the moment. Jason Terry is likely headed elsewhere as a free agent. Vince Carter could be swept up in potential trades. Are Rodrigue Beaubois and/or Dominique Jones ready for a heavier workload? Rivers addresses needs Dallas has long sought in size and scoring ability at the 2.

Why he wouldn't fit: Seems to be a lock to be taken before the Mavs ever pick.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Extremely confident. ... Good shooter with deep range. ... Sick crossover move, very quick. ... Nice floater. ... Skilled ball-handler. ... Has a killer instinct on the floor. Down -- Good, but not elite, athlete. ... Not an explosive leaper. ... Needs to add a left hand. ... Gambling defender. ... Questionable shot selection. ... Can be selfish.

Coop's comment: Rivers would fit well as an athletic shooting guard who can slash to the basket. The Mavericks haven’t had a player like that since Michael Finley in his prime. He sometimes gets into trouble with over-penetrating and turning it over, but he’s so young that he can be coached out of that. He’s an OK shooter, but again, as he gets stronger, he should get better. He played a lot of point guard at Duke, but he’s a shooting guard in the NBA.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Quincy Miller, Baylor
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

Draft preview: Arnett Moultrie

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
12:01
AM CT
video
Sixth in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

Bigs coming out of college are often described as "raw" or "developing." But after sitting out the 2010-11 season to fulfill transfer rules, Arnett Moultrie's third year (and first at Mississippi State after two seasons at UTEP) certainly helped to propel this maturing big.

Averaging a double-double in the SEC is no small feat -- only he and Kentucky's Anthony Davis did so -- and was something Moultrie didn't come close to doing in Conference USA with UTEP (9.8 ppg and 6.7 rpg in 2009-10).

The Memphis, Tenn., product might be the most polished big on the board. It's not hard to see him claiming a spot in the Mavs' rotation behind Dirk Nowitzki and even playing some center alongside Nowitzki.

With the Mavs' cloudy situation at the backup 4 and the 5, acquiring ready-to-play size is going to be paramount for Dallas this offseason.

[+] EnlargeArnett Moultrie
Jeff Blake/US PresswireArnett Moultrie led the SEC in rebounding last season and crashing the boards might be the single-biggest need the Mavericks have.
Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

ARNETT MOULTRIE
School: Mississippi State (3 years including two at UTEP)
Position: PF
Age: 21
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-11/233
2011-12 stats: 16.4 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 54.9% FG

Why he would fit: Moultrie, and not Kentucky's Davis, led the SEC in rebounding this season, and crashing the boards might be the single-biggest need the Mavs have (small forward Shawn Marion led them this season) with Nowitzki's rebounding on the decline and Brendan Haywood possibly out of the picture.

Why he wouldn't fit: The Rockets, who have picks Nos. 14 and 16 and are desperate for size, could nab Moultrie first. Also, he's not a shot-blocker (0.8 per game last season) and the Mavs need rim protection now much more than another scoring threat.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Long, athletic big man. ... Explosive leaper. ... Runs the floor well. ... Unusually quick for a big man. ... Can play both inside and outside. ... Good rebounder, especially on the offensive end. Down -- Spends too much time on the perimeter. ... Needs to add strength. ... Poor free throw shooter.

PODCAST
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla breaks down the NBA draft and the players that could be on the Mavericks' radar.

Listen Listen
Coop's comment: The comparison you always hear is to P.J. Brown, who played 15 years in the NBA as a very fine defender and rebounder. Not a star by any stretch, but a player that every contending team has to have. Like almost everyone else in the draft, he needs to get stronger.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse
Quincy Miller, Baylor

Draft preview: Quincy Miller

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
12:01
AM CT
Fifth in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

We always want college kids to stay a year or two longer to get that extra seasoning. Sometimes it's the right thing to do and sometimes, well, it's not.

We'll see if staying one more season at Baylor will help power forward Perry Jones III. According to ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford's latest mock draft, in which Jones is the 19th overall pick, it would seem staying for his sophomore season might have actually hurt his draft stock rather than help.

As for Jones' freshman teammate, coming out after just one inconsistent season doesn't seem like the most prudent of moves. Another year in Scott Drew's system and another year to get his knee right coming off the ACL injury during his senior year of high school would only seem to improve his standing and better prepare him for life in the NBA.

[+] EnlargeMiller
Richard Mackson/US PresswireQuincy Miller's versatility, court intelligence and all-around skills should make him a first-round pick.
Still, his versatility, court intelligence and all-around skills should keep him in the first round where the money is guaranteed. And those traits will make general managers weigh his talented upside against the health risk his knee apparently still poses.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

QUINCY MILLER
School: Baylor (1 year)
Position: SF
Age: 19
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-10/219
2011-12 stats: 10.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg

Why he would fit: Size, athleticism, scoring ability at the 3? Sure, the Mavs will take that. Assuming Shawn Marion remains with the club, the two North Chicago boys could become fast friends.

Why he wouldn't fit: Very young and Mavs already have one small forward trying to work his way back from a knee injury in Kelenna Azubuike.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Versatile skilled forward. ... Can play both the 3 and the 4. ... Good athlete. ... High basketball IQ. ... Can score inside and outside. ... Excellent rebounder/shot-blocker. Down -- Relies too heavily on his jump shot. ... Needs to add strength.

PODCAST
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla breaks down the NBA draft and the players that could be on the Mavericks' radar.

Listen Listen
Coop's comment: Struggled last year at Baylor coming off the knee injury and apparently is still struggling to find the form that made him a top 10 recruit two years ago. Prior to the injury, he was your prototype small forward and there aren’t many of those in the NBA right now. Right now, though, he seems to be a mess.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Fab Melo, Syracuse

Draft preview: Fab Melo

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
12:01
AM CT
video Fourth in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

If draft position was based on name alone, this Syracuse 7-footer would be No. 1, hands down.

Although very much a developing talent, his size and athletic ability will likely line him up somewhere in the mid-to-late first round. He'll likely be around to make the Mavs at least entertain the idea of taking on this raw big man.

There are two keys here, and those are "raw" and "big man." The Mavs need a big man, especially one that can hit the boards and help anchor the defense, particularly if Brendan Haywood has played his final game in Dallas. As for the raw aspect, Dallas will have to decide if it has the patience to see it through at a time when a competent complement to Dirk Nowitzki, now 34, is crucial.

Also remember that he was ruled academically ineligible for the NCAA Tournament, severely damaging the Orange's bid for a national championship. He later defended himself by saying that he didn't even speak English until four years ago.

[+] EnlargeFab Melo
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIFab Melo has size and raw ability, but he is still a project that will take time to develop.
There have been some glowing reports from his team workouts, but to a large degree, this selection is a buyer-beware proposition.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

FAB MELO
School: Syracuse (2 years)
Position: C
Age: 22
Ht./Wt.: 7-foot/255
2011-12 stats: 7.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg

Why he would fit: The Brazilian is tall, long and strong. He can rebound and swat shots, and that's exactly what the Mavs need under the basket.

Why he wouldn't fit: He's extremely raw and might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, which can frustrate any coach. The Mavs, who worked him out this week, might be more comfortable taking a more polished product as they try to remain a contender in Nowitzki's twilight years.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Big, physical center ... Long arms, pretty mobile ... Good rebounder and shot-blocker ... Tough defender. Down -- Very, very raw offensively ... Weak basketball IQ.
PODCAST
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla breaks down the NBA draft and the players that could be on the Mavericks' radar.

Listen Listen
Coop's comment: He’s big. He can block shots. However, he is a very poor defensive rebounder, an area which he has to improve (and the Mavericks, as a team do, as well). It’s rare that players become great rebounders. Either they have the skill or they don’t. Nowitzki was an exception to the rule. And also, playing in the 2-3 zone at Syracuse, he’s never really had to guard anyone one-on-one in the post. A major project.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

Draft preview: Kendall Marshall

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
12:01
AM CT
Third in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

The Mavs have needs across the board, so after looking at a power forward on the first day of this series and followed by a 7-foot-1 center, we now get our first look at a point guard.

The position is in total flux at the moment and will be even after the draft. Free agency begins July 1 and that's when the franchise's future will become clearer. Will Deron Williams be this club's starter for the foreseeable future? Will Jason Kidd back him up? Has the team lost hope that Rodrigue Beaubois would ascend to that position?

If Dallas decides that a point guard is their best option at No. 17, is that a sign they are not confident in landing Williams?

So many questions with no answers at the moment.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

[+] EnlargeKendall Marshall
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesKendall Marshall is a point guard who can push the ball up court in the mold of Jason Kidd.
KENDALL MARSHALL
School: North Carolina (2 years)
Position: PG
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-4/198
2011-12 stats: 8.1 ppg, 9.8 apg, 2.8 TOpg

Why he would fit: The cerebral point guard many consider to be in the mold of Kidd would give Dallas insurance at the position if it fails to land Williams in free agency and hold onto Kidd. Marshall worked out for the team in Dallas last week. If the Mavs do sign Williams and keep Kidd, then Marshall would learn from two of the best with an eye on becoming Williams' backup when Kidd finally calls it a career in a season or two.

Why he wouldn't fit: The Mavs need quickness and athleticism in the backcourt and Marshall, although he has good size, does not possess the foot speed to keep up with the plethora of super-quick point guards in the league, starting to the north with Russell Westbrook and to the south with Tony Parker.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- One of the best passers in college basketball. ... Sees the floor exceptionally well. ... High basketball IQ. ... Pure point guard, always looking to set others up. ... Good size for his position, strong. ... Improving shooter. Down -- Not an explosive athlete. ... Lacks great lateral quickness.

Coop's comment: If you enjoy watching Kidd’s style of point guard play, then you’ll fall in love with Marshall. There is no better passer in this draft than Marshall. In the Mavericks' “Push” offense, getting it up the floor with the pass is essential, more so than by the dribble. That’s Marshall’s game. He always seems to know exactly where to put the pass to give his teammate the best chance to make a play. His shooting has been suspect, but in the last six games he played before breaking his wrist in the NCAA Tournament, He averaged nearly 15 points a game, shooting 58.3 percent from the floor and 9-of-18 from 3-point range. Defensively, there are questions about his lateral quickness, the thought being he needs a rim defender behind him.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Draft preview: Meyers Leonard

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
12:01
AM CT
video Second in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas' and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

So maybe the back-to- back first-round selections of centers Bill Wennington and Uwe Blab didn't go as planned way back in 1985.

Long before Mark Cuban arrived on the scene, the Mavs' draft history -- any history -- with centers has been mostly forgettable. As the summer begins to heat up with the draft next week and free agency opening days later, Dallas' center position is up in the air and potentially in dire need of reinforcement.

With Tyson Chandler long gone, Brendan Haywood an amnesty candidate (particularly if Deron Williams signs) and Ian Mahinmi heading to free agency, adding size in the middle will be critical to any chance to contend next season. Not that a rookie will put this team over the top, but an athletic big man that can provide rim protection and even score a bit around the basket couldn't hurt the cause.

Here's a look at our next draft prospect:

[+] EnlargeMeyers Leonard
Scott Rovak/US PresswireMeyers Leonard could provide size in the paint to protect the rim, but he's generating plenty of buzz and may be gone by the time the Mavs pick.
MEYERS LEONARD
School: Illinois (2 years)
Position: C
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 7-foot-1/250
2011-12 stats: 13.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Why he would fit: One the Mavs' top needs is size in the paint to protect the rim -- as the Oklahoma City Thunder greatly exposed in the first round -- and rebound. Leonard, unlike some big men drafted by Dallas over the years, is not a lead-foot and he could prove to be a strong complement alongside Dirk Nowitzki, not unlike Chandler.

Why he wouldn't fit: He could well be snapped up earlier in the draft. Buzz is surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 12 pick after they traded Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Long, athletic big man ... Runs the floor well ... Quick for a big guy ... Solid scorer around the basket ... Very good defensive presence in the post ... Good rebounder and shot blocker. Down -- A raw offensive player ... Needs more focus and concentration ... Needs to add strength.

Coop's comment: Not sure if he’s going to be available to Dallas at 17 as he seems to have made the biggest move post-combine. There’s a lot of Tyson Chandler in his game. He’s a legit 7-1 that can run the floor, has a nice touch and is a very good roller in the pick-and-roll game. Obviously he’s raw, much more so than Tyler Zeller, but if you’re willing to wait on him, he might wind up being the better of the two.

Previous prospects
Terrence Jones, Kentucky

Draft Preview: Terrence Jones

June, 18, 2012
6/18/12
12:01
AM CT
video First in a nine-part series analyzing our top NBA draft choices for the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17 on June 28. We will look at one prospect a day leading up to the draft. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford and ESPN Dallas' and Mavs play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein provide the inside goods. The order is alphabetical.

Not since the Mavericks selected Etan Thomas with the No. 12 pick in 2000 has the franchise been set to select this high in the draft. It's not the lottery, but at No. 17 and in what is widely characterized as a deep draft, Dallas is in the rare position to acquire a young player at any position and one with potential to earn a rotation spot next season.

Of course, the front office pair of Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson are always active, and a deal that could take them out of the No. 17 position is never out of the question. Just a year ago, they drafted Jordan Hamilton out of Texas, but did so with a three-team trade in the works that pushed Hamilton to Portland and then on to Denver while the Mavs acquired Rudy Fernandez from the Blazers.

OK, so maybe that 0ne didn't work out so well. Still, the possibility to sit still or wheel-and-deal for an established player are just two options available for the creative Dallas brain trust as it takes the first step into what promises to be a very busy and intriguing summer of change.

"We’ll still wait and see how things shake out," Nelson said following the end of the Mavs' season at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder last month. "We’ve got a first and a second (No. 55). It’s a fairly deep draft so we’re hopeful, but we’ll be active as usual. Whether we decide to draft or package or however, I don’t know. But we think we’re going to get a player there."

With that, let's take a look at our first top prospect:

[+] EnlargeTerrence Jones
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireTerrence Jones is a versatile player who could provide athleticism and an offensive punch, but he also has an inconsistent motor.
TERRENCE JONES
School: Kentucky (2 years)
Position: PF
Age: 20
Ht./Wt.: 6-foot-10/252
2011-12 stats: 12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg

Why he would fit: The Mavs desperately need some muscle off the bench at the power forward position to defend and rebound. They got away without such a presence in 2011 and still won the title. But when Tyson Chandler left and Lamar Odom flaked, Dallas was painfully weak on the front line. Dallas loves versatile players and needs to become more athletic at every position, and Jones, who can also provide some offensive punch, would definitely fill the job in those two areas.

Why he wouldn't fit: Detractors wonder about his off-and-on energy level and pouting when things don't go his way, although a focused NCAA tournament certainly helped his cause. Those aren't qualities that will mesh well with no-nonsense coach Rick Carlisle, who won't stand for such antics and has no qualms of keeping a youngster strapped to the bench.

Chad Ford's thumbs up, thumbs down: Up -- Versatile, athletic wing. ... Huge 7-foot-2 1/4 wingspan. ... Can play three to four positions on the floor. ... Lefty is a terrific ball-handler. ... Is an excellent passer. ... Can score from anywhere on the floor. ... Much improved rebounder. Down -- Some mechanics issues with his shot. ... Needs to spend more time in the post. ... Can fall in love with the 3-pointer. ... Demonstrates poor body language. ... Inconsistent motor.

Coop's comment: Jones measured 6-foot-9 1/2 at the combine and he weighs about 250, so all of this talk about him not having a position really should be moot -- he’s a power forward with a pretty good handle and a good rebounder. He's a good shooter out to about 18 feet. Kentucky watchers say he was not a very good teammate as a freshman, but as a sophomore became much better in that area. Yes, the Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki at power forward, but they do need someone to back him up now and maybe someone who can take over the position when he’s had enough.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
19.9 4.5 1.8 33.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 12.2
AssistsR. Rondo 7.1
StealsM. Ellis 1.8
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4