Cuban: Mavs had Larkin ranked as ninth-best player in draft

FRISCO, Texas — Dirk Nowitzki was unsure if his boss was going to attend batting practice on Friday. After all, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had an NBA draft to oversee the night before.

But Cuban stayed true to his word, showing up to take several swings at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, a day before Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game.

Cuban chatted with reporters for a few minutes before stepping into the batting cage. As expected, Thursday night’s draft, which included the Mavs trading out of the 13th overall selection, was a hot topic.

“It was a crazy night,” Cuban said. “We knew that there was a good chance that we were going to trade the pick, but we planned just in case we couldn’t. We also thought that when we got to the draft that the value of the pick would go up. And it did.”

The Mavericks actually traded back twice before selecting former Miami point guard Shane Larkin at No. 18.

“Going in, we had guys on our board that we knew that if they fell we were just going to take them and Shane was one of them,” Cuban said. “Because it was such a crazy draft, we kind of took some risks and kept on trading down to pick up some picks for next year, create some cap room and reduce our cost for the pick.

“Our analytics guys had Shane ranked as the ninth-best guy in the draft. All the guys who worked him out loved him. Coach loved him. So we kind of think we had our cake and ate it too.”

Larkin, whose father is baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game during his sophomore season with the Hurricanes.

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