Mavs NBA Draft Donuts: Grade 'A' For Defensive Effort

Richie Whitt

DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks NBA Draft Donuts ... This franchise made a promise. This franchise kept it ...

DONUT 1. Mavs’ first-round pick Josh Green will wear No. 0 and, fittingly, he’s not too far from the mold of former ring-winning zero Shawn Marion. Superior defense. More of a scorer than shooter. But a rotation player on a playoff team? You betcha.

And "defense,'' as you are about to read, was almost the entire point of the night.

DONUT 2. With their second pick – the first of the second round – Dallas nabbed Stanford sharpshooter Tyrell Terry. Shot 41 percent from 3-point range and an amazing 58 percent coming off screens in college. 

READ MORE: Mavs Draft at No. 31: 'Steal' Tyrell Terry of Stanford

If Terry’s game can translate to the next level – and shooting usually does – Luka Doncic’s uncanny passes just turned into converted open jumpers.

Terry compares himself to the departed Seth Curry. And Donnie Nelson?

"He can just absolutely shoot the piss out of it,'' the GM said of Terry.

DONUT 3. The Mavs weren’t kidding about their commitment to improving defensively. When you trade away the second-best percentage 3-point shooter in NBA history (Seth Curry), you’d better get value in return. 

READ/LISTEN MORE: NBA Draft Pod: Mavs 'Win The Night' With Green, Terry, Bey & J-Rich

They turned into a 2-for-1, getting the Philadelphia 76ers’ Josh Richardson in the trade and then using the 36th pick on Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Tyler Bey. 

READ MORE: Richardon/Curry Trade Analysis

READ MORE: Mavs Draft at No. 36: 'D-First' Tyler Bey of Colorado

Richardson and Bey are long and lean and would rather live inside an opponent’s jersey than stand outside the 3-point line. If nothing else, Richardson (6-foot-5) and Bey (6-7) give head coach Rick Carlisle viable options to prevent more effortless 50-point nights from the likes of James Harden.

Richardson, of course, is ready now.

"Josh is really the player we thought was the best fit,'' Donnie said of the night's potential trade targets. "I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off with free agency. But that being said, we’re not done yet. We want to get this team better on both sides of the ball.”

DONUT 4. Strangest, most anonymous and crap-shootiest draft in NBA history. 

When COVID canceled the conference tournaments and March Madness last spring, it stunted fans’ familiarity with most of the draftable players. It also diluted the teams’ intimate knowledge about prospects. No scouting combine. No on-site workouts. No summer league. Teams could only visit 10 players with three members of the organization (head coach, medical personnel, etc.). Evaluations – like everything else in 2020 – are more difficult than ever. 

Countered GM Nelson, “We base the meat of our evaluation on what the players did on the court, so we’re still confident we’ll be able to make good, solid decisions.”

DONUT 5. The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series in almost 10 years, since lifting their only trophy in 2011. With the addition of three significantly defensive-minded players in Green, Richardson and Bey, they got significantly better Wednesday night. 

How’s that? 

Because while they had a record-setting offense in 2020, they needed help with their embarrassingly porous defense and they got it in Green. 

Said Carlisle, “We need to make our defense better.” 

Amen.

DONUT 6. With Klay Thompson suffering an apparent Achilles injury Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors’ spirits brightened when 7-foot-1 center James Wiseman fell to them at No. 2. His skillset invokes David Robinson. Yes, he could be that good. 

But what he isn’t? “A unicorn,” brief college coach Penny Hardaway called him. 

READ MORE: How Much Of New NBA Season Will Mavs' Porzingis Miss?

Sorry, but that’s trademarked for a guy named Kristaps Porzingis.

DONUT 7. Last time there was an NBA season this disjointed was 2011-12. The Mavs were coming off their only championship season, but their defense was delayed by a lockout that ended around, sure enough, Thanksgiving. Turned out to be a forgettable season for Dallas, which traded for Lamar Odom (yuck), trailed by 35 points and lost to the Miami Heat in their banner-raising opener on Christmas Day (double-yuck) and ultimately were swept in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder (triple … oh forget it).

DONUT 8. Without a first-round pick in 2021 or 2023 because of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Mavs needed to win this draft.

They lost Curry but added Green, Terry, Richardson and Bey. We don’t have to wait long to find out if they did. Training camp opens in two weeks. But today? This is a win. This is an 'A.''

DONUT 9. Gotta admit, this draft tasted a little “off” as a Thanksgiving appetizer. The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned 2020 champs only 39 days ago. The 2021 season tips off in just 34 days. 

Ready or not, last season is officially this season. Bon appetit.

DONUT 10. First-round pick Anthony Edwards may be the best athlete in the draft, but no way he’s the best player or best prospect. In a league where Jimmy Butler wins, his ceiling is Andrew Wiggins.

DONUT 11. Green will now always be judged against Aleksej Pokusevski and Saddiq Bey. 

Why? 

Because the Oklahoma City Thunder think they stole the 7-foot Serbian from Dallas by trading in front of it to pick No. 17. And Villanova’s Bey, a favorite of many Mavs fans, was drafted right behind Green at No. 19 by the Detroit Pistons.

DONUT 12. Green, the Mavs’ pick at No. 18, is a superior athlete. At 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, he’s also a tough, tenacious defender. If you, like me, cringed at watching Dallas surrender 130 points and layup lines in the bubble, Green is a wing defense who can help. 

But having watched a handful of Arizona games last year, I say he’s not quite ready offensively for the NBA. 

READ MORE: Mavs Draft Arizona Wing Josh Green - Who Thinks It's 'A Great Fit'

He won’t consistently beat defenders off the dribble. His catch-and-shoot is kinda hitch'y. But on a Mavs team that’s very skilled but not overly athletic, Green might immediately be the best leaper on the roster. Take the better part of Dorian Finney-Smith’s defense and the better part of Justin Jackson’s offense and, presto, you got Green.

Said Carlisle, “Terrific two-way player. Terrific athlete. What we needed for our roster were wing defenders who can shoot, score and make plays. We feel he's a ready-to-go 3-and-D guy.” 

Green is delighted with his new employer.

“You could tell they take their player development very seriously, as well as the organization,'' he said. "I was all for it. I was super pumped. I love the Mavericks. It’s something I continued to stress with my agent, ‘What are the Mavericks thinking?’ I’m just stoked right now.”

Green grew up in Australia before moving to Arizona for high school. So, first things first, he needs to be better than Mavs’ 1997 Down Under disaster of a first pick, Chris Anstey.

On an "A'' sort of day, I feel alright about that.

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