Dallas Mavericks: Arnett Moultrie

Rapid Reaction: Mavs pick Jared Cunningham

June, 28, 2012
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks somewhat surprisingly selected Jared Cunningham with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Cunningham is a 6-foot-4, 194-pound junior shooting guard from Oregon State and is known for his athleticism, quickness and defense.

The Mavs initially picked Tyler Zeller (center, North Carolina) with the 17th overall pick, but quickly traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks in the draft.

One of the Mavs' targets, Arnett Moultrie (forward, Mississippi State) was on the board, but Dallas went with the combo guard. ESPN.com Insider Chad Ford wrote in his June 25 scouting report that Cunningham could be the best sleeper in this year's draft.

Here's a quick look at Cunningham's resume:

Cunningham led the Pac-12 in steals as a junior and sophomore. ... He was an All-Pac-12 First team selection as a junior and All-Pac-12 second team as a sophomore. ... He was a two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive and All-Tournament Team selection. ... He concluded his career 13th all-time in scoring (1,271), second in steals (219), third in free throws made (427) and fifth in free throws attempted (566) at Oregon State. ... He averaged 17.9 points as a junior, the second-best in the Pac-12. ... He ranked ninth nationally in steals. ... He tied Gary Payton and Lester Conner for for the second-most steals in a single season (91) in Oregon State history.

Cunningham is ranked 32nd in Chad Ford's top 100. Click here to read Ford's analysis (insider).

The Mavs had a few potential players go off the board before they could pick at 17th. Terrence Ross (guard, Washington) was drafted eighth overall by the Toronto Raptors, Meyers Leonard (center, Illinois) 11th overall by the Portland Trailblazers, Kendall Marshall (guard, North Carolina) 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns and Royce White (forward, Iowa State) 16th overall by the Houston Rockets.

After making the trade with Cleveland, the Mavs missed out on Terrence Jones (forward, Kentucky, picked 18th by Houston), Andrew Nicholson (forward, St. Bonaventure, picked 19th by Orlando) and Fab Melo (center, Syracuse, picked 22nd by Boston).

The Mavs left Perry Jones III (forward, Baylor) and Quincy Miller (forward, Baylor) on the board.

Draft preview: Arnett Moultrie

June, 25, 2012
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:

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.

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



Monta Ellis
20.9 4.5 1.7 34.1
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 9.3
StealsR. Rondo 2.0
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4