DALLAS – In their 33-year history in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t had many players who they drafted that went on to have successfully long careers with the Dallas franchise.
While forward Dirk Nowitzki has played all 15 of his star-studded seasons with the Mavericks and is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 25,051 points, it must be noted that the Germany native officially wasn’t drafted by Dallas. The Milwaukee Bucks used the ninth pick of the 1998 draft to select Nowitzki.
However, in a pre-draft trade agreement, the Bucks shortly thereafter traded Nowitzki to the Mavs for Robert “Tractor’ Traylor, who the Mavs “drafted’’ for the Bucks with the No. 6 overall pick.
So why didn’t the Mavs just outright draft Nowitzki for themselves in the No. 6 slot?
Ross Perot Jr., who was then the owner of the Mavs, instructed Don Nelson – the team’s coach and general manager at the time – to find a way to move down in the draft so Perot could save some money. From there, the Mavs had to sweat out whether Sacramento or Philadelphia -- they drafted seventh and eighth, respectively -- would reach out and select Nowitzki and thus snuff out the Mavs’ draft plans.
But the Kings drafted point guard Jason Williams and the Sixers chose shooting guard Larry Hughes, leaving the door open for the Bucks to “draft’’ Nowitzki for the Mavs.
Meanwhile, with the NBA Draft slated for Thursday night in Brooklyn, here are the top five draft picks in Mavs history as compiled by staff writer Dwain Price. And the picks are chosen in order of their impact on the Mavs’ organization.
1. JASON KIDD, NO. 2 OVERALL PICK IN THE 1994 DRAFT
a.) Played for the Mavs from 1994’97, and from 2008-’12. Played 500 of his 1,391 career games with the Mavs, who he led to their only NBA championship in 2011. The Nets (506) were the only franchise Kidd played more games with than he did for the Mavs.
b.) The year before they drafted Kidd, the Mavs had the worst record in the NBA at 13-69. But they finished his rookie campaign with a 36-46 record, with the 23-game improvement ranking as the highest in the NBA that season.
c.) A future Hall of Famer-in-waiting, Kidd was drafted one slot behind Glenn Robinson and one slot ahead of Grant Hill. Kidd and Hill were named co-rookies of the year, while Kidd also was named to the all-rookie first team.
d.) Regarded as one of the all-time best point guards, Kidd was a 10-time All-Star, with one of those coming as a member of the Mavs. In 1996, Kidd was named to the midseason classic for the Mavs as a starter – the only player in Mavs history selected by the fans to start in the All-Star game.
e.) The Mavs traded Kidd to Phoenix in the middle of the 1996-97 season in a deal that brought Michael Finley and Sam Cassell to Dallas. Kidd later returned to the Mavs in the middle of the 2007-’08 season in a trade that included Devin Harris. He played here until he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with the New York Knicks last summer.
2. ROLANDO BLACKMAN, NO. 9 OVERALL PICK IN THE 1981 DRAFT
a.) Played for the Mavs from 1981-’92, and was an All-Star in 1985, ’86, ’87 and ’90. Had a key role when the Mavs became the NBA’s model franchise as he helped lead Dallas to the playoffs in 1984, ’85, ’86, 87, ’88 and ’90.
b.) A shooting guard with a deft shooting stroke, Blackman never fouled out of any of the 865 games
he played in for the Mavs. He is the Mavs’ No. 2 all-time leading scorer with 16,643 points.
c.) In the 1983-’84 season, Blackmon averaged 22.4 ppg and shot 54.6 percent from the field. He was
almost as effective in the ’84-’85 season (19.7 ppg, 50.8 percent), ’85-’86 season (21.5 ppg, 51.4 percent) and ’86-’87 season (21 ppg, 49.5 percent). The next five seasons for the Mavs, Blackman averaged 18.7, 19.7, 19.4, 19.9 and 18.3 ppg.
d.) Because of his contributions to their team, the Mavs retired Blackman’s No. 22 jersey on Mar. 11, 2000. It currently hangs in the American Airlines Center rafters.
e.) After being part of a New York Knicks team that reached the 1994 NBA Finals, Blackman returned
to the Mavs and worked for the organization in various capacities, including as a defensive coordinator, TV analyst, assistant coach and director of player development.
3. MARK AGUIRRE, NO. 1 OVERALL PICK IN THE 1981 DRAFT
a.) As the No. 1 overall pick of the 1981 draft, Aguirre is the only player in Mavs history who became the NBA’s No. 1 overall pick in any draft. Aguirre played for the Mavs from 1981 until they reluctantly traded him to the Detroit Pistons for Adrian Dantley on Feb. 15, 1989 after conflicts between Aguirre and coach Dick Motta and some of his teammates started to stack up.
b.) Neither Isiah Thomas or Aguirre were impressive during their pre-draft interviews with the Mavs, likely because neither were exactly thrilled about playing for the Mavs, who were in just their second season in the NBA. Nevertheless, the Mavs decided to draft the taller of the two players, with Thomas going No. 2 overall to Detroit.
c.) An All-Star small forward in 1984, ’87 and ’88, Aguirre is third on the Mavs’ all-time scoring list with 13,930 points.Beginning in his second season in 1982-‘83, Aguirre went six straight years where he averaged at least 22 ppg. He finished in the Top 10 in the NBA in scoring five times, including second in 1983-’84 (29.5 ppg) sixth in 1982-’83 (24.4 ppg), seventh in 1986-’87 (25.7 ppg), eighth in 1984-’85 (25.7 ppg), eighth in 1987-’88 (25.1 ppg). His 29.5 ppg second-place finish in ’83-‘84 still ranks as the highest single-season scoring average in Mavs history.
d.) As a rookie he averaged 18.7 ppg and shot 46.5 percent from the field in only 28.8 minutes per game. It’s the highest scoring average for any player – veteran or rookie -- in his first season with the Mavs.
e.) He averaged 21.7 ppg in 44 games during the 1988-’89 season before the Mavs traded him to Detroit, where he won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and ’90. In all, Aguirre played 566 of his career 923 games with the Mavs.
4. DEREK HARPER, NO. 11 OVERALL PICK IN THE 1983 DRAFT
a.) A steady-handed point guard, Harper played for the Mavs from 1983-’94, and again during the 1996-’97 season. He also played for their Mavs during the franchise’s first 48 games in the playoffs, and additionally played 872 of his 1,199 career games with the Mavs.
b.) A fierce two-way player, Harper used his 6-4 height and cat-quick feet to earn a berth on the NBA’s all-defensive second-team in 1987 and ’90. During a four-year period from 1986-’90, Harper averaged at least two steals in each one of those seasons.
c.) After averaging 5.7 ppg as a rookie, Harper increased his scoring average in each of the ensuing seven seasons. Universally regarded as one of the NBA’s best players to never play in an All-Star game, Harper also averaged at least 1.8 steals in all seven of those seasons, and at least seven assists per game in five of those campaigns.
d.) In seven of his first eight years with the Mavs, Harper shot at least 45.9 percent from the field. That includes shooting at least 50 percent from the floor in three consecutive seasons.
e.) The Mavs traded Harper to the New York Knicks 28 games into the 1993-’94 campaign, and he helped the Knicks to the NBA Finals that year where they lost to Houston in seven games. In addition to playing with the Knicks’ Patrick Ewing Harper was a teammate of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1998-’99 season.
5. JOSH HOWARD, No. 29 OVERALL PICK IN THE 2003 DRAFT
a.) He played for the Mavs from 2003 until they shipped him to Washington on Feb. 13, 2010 in a multi-player package that landed Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood in Dallas.
Howard has played 431 of his 507 career games with the Mavs.
b.) Howard was the very last pick of the first round of an extremely deep draft that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich, David West, Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Luke Ridnour, Dahntay Jones and Carlos Delfino.
c.) He was named to the NBA’s all-rookie second team after averaging 8.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg in just 23.7 minutes per game. He also averaged 18.9 ppg and 6.8 rpg during the 2006-’07 campaign when he was selected to play in the All-Star game.
d.) Howard’s best season statistically came during the 2007-’08 campaign when he averaged 19.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg. He also averaged 18 ppg and 5.1 rpg in the 2008-’09 season. In addition, Howard averaged 16.7 ppg and 7.4 rebounds per contest in 23 playoff games during the 2006 postseason when the Mavs wound up advancing to the NBA Finals.
e.) Howard was the perfect small forward compliment to Dirk Nowitzki, and the Mavs projected the duo to spend many years together terrorizing opponents. But a few hours before the Mavs were set to
play Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against New Orleans, Howard told Michael Irvin on Irvin’s ESPN radio show that he smoked marijuana in the offseason. After averaging a mere 12.5 ppg and 3.6 rpg in 31 contests, the Mavs traded Howard to Washington midway through the 2009-’10 season.
WHAT: NBA Draft
WHEN: Thursday 6 p.m.
WHERE: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
TOP PROSPECTS: Kentucky C Nerlens Noels, Maryland C Alex Len, Kansas SG Ben McLemore, Georgetown SF Otto Porter, Michigan PG Trey Burke, UNLV SF Anthony Bennett, Pittsburgh C Steven Adams, Indiana PF Cody Zeller and Indiana SG Victor Oladipo.
MAVS PICK: The Mavs will pick No. 13 overall in the draft. They will likely pick from a bevy of players, including Lehigh PG CJ McCollum, Syracuse PG Michael Carter-Williams, Georgia SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Germany PG Dennis Schroeder or Miami PG Shane Larkin. But more than likely the Mavs will trade the pick so they can have more salary cap space.
-- Dwain Price
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