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Mavs Draft Candidates: Shark Tank Treatment

Which Mavericks first-round draft candidates are in and out?

DALLAS — There is not yet a to-be-taken-seriously "mock draft'' at Dallas Mavericks headquarters. What there is is a collection of names the club figures might be available at pick No. 17 of the first round … and then eventually, on June 28's NBA Draft Night, where owner Mark Cuban's team is scheduled to make a selection in what is in a sense a basketball version of his "Shark Tank'' TV show.


We've got six names that are in that "collection'' at Mavs HQ. So … which is it?


To use the "Shark Tank'' parlance, am I in? Or am I out?


The picks are as useful as ever in the Dirk Nowitzki Era because of the way the new CBA rewards teams who dig up useful, cheap talent. Therefore, Dallas might be less likely to use its picks as veteran-acquiring throw-ins (though flipping such assets for the likes of, say, Deron Williams, is perfectly acceptable to us.)


This isn't a discussion about likely No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, or even about probable high-lotto picks Thomas Robinson, Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilcrist and Harrison Barnes. The Mavs' focus at the recent scouting combine in Chicago was on a tier down from there, on names like Kendall Marshall, Jared Sullinger, Dion Waiters, Austin Rivers, Arnett Moultrie and Terrence Ross.


So are we in or are we out?


PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina


Kendall Marshall (6-4, 197) has a great strength. It isn't his athleticism but rather his high BBIQ. In terms of pure basketball knowhow, Marshall -- who some think could grow up to be Kidd-like -- seems elite. One issue here: Should Dallas concern itself with whatever it perceives its needs to be at PG, or simply snatch up the best available basketball player at 17?


Are we in or are we out?


We're out, because his skills as a pure point guard will be coveted by teams picking way ahead of Dallas.


PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State


Could Dallas use a power forward? As a backup, certainly. Arnett Moultrie (6-10, 230) has a reputation as a scorer. He's also long, with some shot-blocking skills, an area Dallas could use help in. Moultrie seems to be shooting up the list of some teams. In Dallas' case, I'm told there is more information to be gathered on this guy.


Are we in or are we out?


We're in. The notion that Dallas doesn't need a 4 because Dirk presently plays there is nonsense. The Mavs need to collect athletes, players … not positions.


SG Dion Waiters, Syracuse


Dion Waiters (6-4, 215) could be even more impressive when he works out for teams than he was on the court, when he was part of a very crowded Orangemen backcourt. He's a little out of control in some ways, and he comes from a Syracuse program where too many guys don't quite make the leap.


Are we in or are we out?


We're out, for two reasons. One, the Syracuse issue cannot be just a coincidence. And two, there is word that Waiters has a "promise'' by some team to be selected somewhere between No. 8 and No. 14.


G Austin Rivers, Duke


A better scorer than Marshall, but maybe that's because Austin Rivers isn't going to end up as a PG. He also has a high BBIQ and at 6-4 203, is an offensive creator, too. Most teams think he'll play shooting guard. He's very aggressive -- maybe even cocky. (He's the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers and knows his way around the gym.) But at 19 years old, he has the chance to develop into a driving wing the likes of which Dallas hasn't had since a pre-big-contract Michael Finley.


Are we in or are we out?


We're so in here that this seems like a trade-up-worthy target. But Rivers reportedly has a promise, too.


Jared Sullinger, Ohio State


Jared Sullinger is listed at 6-10, 280. The 280 is right; the Mavs know he's closer to 6-8, which might cause some to compare him to Brandon Bass. He's got a polished inside game and a pedigree that had him penciled in as a top-five pick at the start of the year. There are probably conditioning concerns here, but this talent in the teens could be a steal. He's going to be the most polarizing player in this draft, with detractors noting that against long defenders, he can't get his shot off. And he's strictly a 4, not a 3. Somebody will probably take him ahead of Dallas, but ... the Mavs want to be prepared here.


Are we in or are we out?


We're out. He'll go high … and he'll go to a team along with some questions to be answered.


SG Terrence Ross, Washingon


Terrence Ross is 6-7, and while he has potential on defense, he is a budding star on offense. He knows how to come off screens, is willing to take the big shot, is a pure shooter ... Could he be a tall Jason Terry?


Are we in or are we out?


We're in. The slot seems right, the fit seems right, and while the Mavs vow not to draft a position -- "It's about assembling information and then finding athletes who are basketball players,'' Mavs GM Donnie Nelson tells us – a big backcourt scorer might make Ross a tiebreaker winner in Dallas' rankings.