Every spring in Dallas, one of two things happens: The Dallas Mavericks either play a couple of weeks of playoff basketball or lose the NBA Draft Lottery. No matter how bad the previous season or how good their odds are, the Mavericks never, ever move up so much as a spot in the lottery. Whether it's 1986 or 2019, that's just how it is. Things were no different Tuesday night.
The 2019 lottery was a big deal for the Mavs, and the rest of the league, for a couple of reasons. Everyone with a sweepstakes ticket, either through poor 2019 performance on the court or through a trade, had a chance at the best draft prospect since LeBron James, Duke freshman superhero Zion Williamson. In addition to the Williamson chase, the Mavericks had a specific interest in moving into the top four of the league's draft order, thereby keeping the first-round pick they'd conditionally traded to the Atlanta Hawks during last year's draft.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Not only did the Mavs not improve on their pre-lottery position (ninth), they actually dropped a spot to 10th, thanks to the Los Angeles Lakers jumping from 11th in the pre-lottery order to fourth. The Mavericks won't be getting Williamson. They won't be drafting in the first round at all, in fact, having now fulfilled their obligation to the Hawks.
It was never a likelihood that Williamson or one of the elite players in 2019's draft class were coming to Dallas — the Mavericks had a 6% chance of getting the top pick — but finally lucking out would've skipped the franchise ahead on its path to winning a second championship. As it stands, the Mavericks' roster features stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis and not much else. The team needs a third piece to compete. With Tuesday night out of the way, the Mavericks know it won't be coming through the draft.