What can the Mavs get at 17?

What can the Mavs get at 17?

Published Jun. 18, 2012 2:32 p.m. ET

DALLAS — As always, there will be reports of speculated movement: This team wants to move up, down, sideways … Two weeks before decision time, we do not know what the Dallas Mavericks will do with their No. 17 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. If organizational tradition holds, they'll sell off the pick as a sweetener in a trade for veteran help. If there is a new CBA-friendly approach – a logical guess at this early stage -- they'll see that cheap talent can be had there. Which leads to the question:

Can the Mavs get a rotation player at No. 17? ...

Recent history insists it is so. In fact, there's enough recent history for teams picking at No. 17 in the NBA Draft that I dare say it puts a little pressure on the Dallas Mavericks personnel dept. to nail this one.

That is, if Dallas remains at 17. Or even bothers to use the pick.

We've detailed the reasons for the Mavs to shift draft-day strategies and get use from their first-round pick beyond using it as a sweetener in a trade for a veteran. We've also examined just how effective Dallas has been over the last 13 years in loading and re-loading again, using "Asset Management'' as the hub of the organizational philosophy.

But if a trade nets a "big fish''? Yes, Donnie and Cubes, you have our permission to swap it out once again. (Dallas got its title with the help of Jason Kidd, who was acquired with two No. 1's that became Ryan Anderson and Jamal Crawford. Worth it? No doubt.)

However, you flip through some of the names plucked by teams that used their No. 17's on actual players, and if you are a Mavs fan you are a tad encouraged ...

2011, Iman Shumpert ...

Shumpert became a Knicks rotation player as a rookie, fitting right in in a way that Donnie Nelson often talks about: "A guy needs to be really special in at least one area.'' Shumpert is athletic enough to be just that as a perimeter defender. He might just be the same sort of guy Dallas has spend much more money on in grabbing vets (Quinton Ross, Antoine Wright, DeShawn, Corey Brewer, Greg Buckner) to play the same role.

2010, Kevin Seraphin ...

The Wizards picked the Frenchman and he put up numbers in his second season, becoming a 15-points/seven-rebounds guy. Is he doing that in part because he's on a bad team?

2009, Jrue Holliday ...

There was a time when the Mavs really thought Roddy B was going to develop into a player at least at this level. That wait continues, while Holiday matures into a solid all-around starting point guard on the playoff team in Philly.

2008, Roy Hibbert ...

And this is how a mediocre team removes itself from the treadmill.

In retrospect, you wonder how the 7-2, 280-pound center that Hibbert is now could've been available this late. The Pacers center is now just 25; he seems like a bright person and his future as a perennial All-Star seems bright, too.

It so happens he's a restricted free agent this summer and as DB.com has reported, Hibbert on the Mavericks' offer-sheet wish list.

That, of course, is the hard, risky and expensive way to get a Roy Hibbert. The easier way to do it is to be lucky/good at 17.

2006, Shawne Williams ...

Williams has been given chance after chance in the NBA ... Indiana, New York, New Jersey ... and yes, a stint with Dallas was plunked in the middle of all that, the Mavs' attempt to find another LIBB ("Lightning In A Bottle Boy''). Remember Rick Carlisle saying that if Shawne screwed up here, his "ass would be grass and me, Donnie and Mark Donnie would be the lawnmowers''?

Shawne didn't last year. And "grass'' was indeed the keyword, if you know what I mean.

2007, Sean Williams ...

Different guy, different spelling, largely the same results -- including a stint with Dallas, though Sean's time here this past season actually worked out well for both parties.

The Nets pick landed a job at the end of the Boston bench for this year's playoffs after some impactful (and some funny) moments as a Mav. He made the trip up and down Central Expressway and the good people of Frisco fell in love with him; don't be surprised if he somehow ends up in a Texas Legends uniform some day in the future.

Still, both S. Williamses qualify as busts.

2005, Danny Granger ...

The Pacers get Hibbert in 2008 three years after getting another All-Star-caliber player in Granger? Yes, indeed, that's how you get off that treadmill. The debate about Granger now is whether he is a true No. 1 option on a title contender, but after having been drafted at "just 17,'' that is a compliment to his talent and a good problem to have for the organization.

2004, Josh Smith …

And finally we go all the way back to the 2004 Draft and No. 17, Josh Smith -- who, interestingly, is a name DallasBasketball.com has conjured up as a realistic target using Lamar Odom in a LOAF deal.

Smith has been around the league long enough, and been successful enough, that the bar has been raised and his flaws picked to bits. Yeah, Atlanta probably wishes there was as much steak as sizzle to his game; his highlight reel shows him doing lots of big things well but the little things sometimes elude him.

But wouldn't it be grand, eight years after this month's draft, to still be debating whether the player Dallas selected at No. 17 was "great'' or just merely "very good''?