Mavs: 3 early 2023 NBA Draft targets with No. 10 lottery slot in first round

The Dallas Mavericks‘ offseason is likely going to revolve around the free agency period and whether they’re able to re-sign All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. However, this shouldn’t distract them from the 2023 NBA Draft, a day that they’ll make a major decision for the future of the franchise.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say the Mavericks don’t convince Kyrie to stay.

Although the future Hall of Fame guard has more than met expectations since being drafted first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, the problems caused by pairing him with Luka Doncic aren’t easily fixable.

Both players are nominal point guards, and though both could be moved off-ball, they’re at the best with the ball in their hands. That’s nothing to say about their inclination to take over as scorers, particularly at the end of games. Defensively, the only way to solve their issues would be to find two 3-and-D forwards capable of guarding 1-4. Unfortunately for the Mavs, while have a few 3-and-D wings, they aren’t quite the Mikal Bridges type player that Dallas needs.

That said, even though Kyrie Irving seems to really enjoy his time with the organization, both he and the Mavericks could and probably should be looking for better fits.

Looking ahead at the 2023-24 season with this scenario though, Dallas will have only eight players under contract: Luka, Jaden Hardy, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, Reggie Bullock, Maxi Kleber, JaVale McGee, and Davis Bertans.

Finding another elite three-level scorer who averaged 27.0 points and 6.0 assists per game — as Irving did with the Mavs — may not be likely with the 10th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. However, it is possible. More importantly, it’s something Dallas may be able to accomplish by addressing their true position of need.

3 early 2023 NBA Draft targets for Mavs with No. 10 lottery slot in first round

Gregory ‘GG’ Jackson II

The best word to describe former South Carolina Gamecocks forward Gregory ‘GG’ Jackson II is wildcard, as the 6-foot-9, 215-pound freshman has one of the highest ceilings in his class.

A fluid athlete that can put the ball on the floor, score from all three levels, and has a plenty of defensive upside as well, Jackson averaged 15.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks, and 0.8 steals per game as a true freshman last season.

His efficiency — or lack thereof — with a field goal percentage of 38.4 and 32.4 percent from 3-point range left a lot to be desired and if someone just looked his numbers, it would be easy to doubt that he’ll excel against better competition. However, the biggest issue Jackson had last season was that he often played too rushed. As the game slows down for him, which will happen with time and opportunity, he’ll be a more controlled scorer and better able to maximize his natural ability.

With the Dallas Mavericks having an elite floor general in Luka Doncic, Jackson will be put in plenty of advantageous positions, which should innately boost his efficiency. As should the simple fact that Luka has plenty of gravity, and Jackson should benefit from that in pick-and-rolls with Doncic in particular.

In any case, with the Mavs, Jaden Hardy’s scoring instincts shined by the end of the 2022-23 season. This despite shooting 35.1 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from 3 with the G League Ignite in 2021-22, allowing Hardy to look like a potential starter alongside Doncic moving forward.

Jackson should be able to do the same. Especially if he gets the opportunity to test out his NBA range with less defensive attention on him and Doncic delivering the ball to him all around the perimeter.

Trayce Jackson-Davis

There are so many skills and intangibles that former Indiana Hoosiers big man Trayce Jackson-Davis possesses that he really should be a lottery pick.

To start, Jackson-Davis simply produces at a high level and has done so consistently. Averaging 20.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.9 blocks per game last season, Jackson-Davis is arguably the most productive player in the 2023 NBA Draft this side of Victor Wembanyama.

Even more impressive, Jackson-Davis has averaged 19.4 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game over the past three seasons, starting every game he’s played with the Hoosiers since the 2019-20 season.

Although he’ll have a bit more tread on his tires than a guy like 18-year-old Gregory ‘GG’ Jackson II, the 23-year-old Jackson-Davis is a proven product that’s also been well coached for years. After spending his first two seasons coached by 2017 A-10 Coach of the Year Archie Miller, Jackson-Davis played his final two seasons with the Hoosiers under former NBA head coach Mike Woodson.

With the Mavs, he can be counted on early on, allowing his athleticism and touch around the rim to shine through.

He isn’t a 3-point threat, and that would be something to monitor for most teams. However, big man Maxi Kleber has knocked down 35.8 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career. With Jackson-Davis long since demonstrating his passing potential, Dallas should find plenty of ways to make it work.

If it came down to it, they could also just start Jackson-Davis at center, leaving the 6-foot-10 Kleber at power forward. They would be a bit undersized down low. Yet, with Jackson-Davis’s athleticism and defensive instincts, he’ll still a solid defensive option at the pivot.

Cam Whitmore

Averaging 12.5 points in 27.3 minutes per game and on 47.8 percent shooting from the field as a true freshman, Villanova Wildcats forward Cam Whitmore is already comfortable putting on a blue jersey.

He’s also the highest-ranked prospect on this list by most if not all accounts, with many mock drafts even having him go inside the top 10.

At his best with the ball in his hands and on his way to the rim, Whitmore is no 3-and-D prospect, which the Mavs have plenty of. He’s a crafty scorer who can get his points all over the court and whose game is actually reminiscent of Jalen Brunson, ironically enough.

At 6-foot-7 and 232 pounds, Whitmore will be manning a frontcourt spot rather than a backcourt spot for the Mavs but the results — at least so far as scoring go — should be about the same. Ironically, Brunson was also a standout at Brunson. Though these coincidences may not lead to Dallas drafting the forward, they’re certainly worth noting, especially considering how much the Mavs regret letting Brunson get to the New York Knicks.

To that point, as Whitmore is a player far more interested in scoring the ball than creating for others, the Mavs won’t have to wonder if Cam feels like Luka is cramping his style.

Not to be forgotten is Whitmore’s impact on the defensive end though. A player who generates a lot of deflections by staying attached to his man, this is a prospect who can make winning plays on both ends for the Mavericks.

The post Mavs: 3 early 2023 NBA Draft targets with No. 10 lottery slot in first round appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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