The Dallas Mavericks seem to be treating their first lottery pick in a dozen years like a Christmas fruitcake.
Anyone want it?
The Mavs have made no secret that they're shopping the No. 13 overall selection, motivated to move the pick because they'd prefer not to have the $1.655 million cap hold on their books, as they try to create enough salary-cap space to make a max offer to Dwight Howard. (The Mavs might reconsider that stance if Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams falls to them.)
However, Dallas doesn't necessarily have to dump the pick to avoid the immediate financial inconvenience. The Mavs could draft an international player with the intention of stashing him overseas for a season or more, which would keep the cap hold off the Mavs' books if the player were willing to cooperate. This is possible whether the Mavs pick at No. 13 -- German point guard Dennis Schroeder is just a notch below Carter-Williams on their board -- or if they move down in the first round or into the early second round.
Frankly, you'll find precious few people who aren't on NBA payrolls who can correctly pronounce the names of the international draft prospects, much less evaluate their games. ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, a former college head coach who has scouted all the premier international prospects, is an exception.
Fraschilla sees six international players who he considers good stash candidates in this draft. His rankings and scouting reports of that group:
1. Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Fran fare: "At 13, he's the (international) guy I would take. He's not ready. None of these guys are, but Schroeder is ideal, especially if they're stuck picking somebody. I wouldn't take any of these other guys at 13. ... (Rajon) Rondo is the best comparison because of the athletic attributes. This kid is a better shooter, but to say he's going to be Rondo is an obvious stretch. But the physical attributes are there. All he needs is more seasoning. ... I don't think he's Tony Parker at 19 (years old). I think he needs another year of seasoning in Europe. The similarity would be with the rules the way they are, they are just going to get into the lane on anybody. ... Schroeder has an edge to him. He's got a little Rondo to him, both on and off the court. Has got a little nasty. If anything, he's got a little edge that you'll have to keep in check. But I'd rather have a little edge than to have to check his pulse. ... He's a pure point guard. He has the speed and the body type. He sees the game fairly well. He's instinctive. He's very quick, great first step. ... If you looked at him in person, you would rightfully be excited about him. You really would. He's a good developmental prospect. Baseline to me is (Schroeder will be a) starter three or four years from now. I don't see star yet, but that's definitely within the realm of possibility."
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Fran fare: "He is (the equivalent of) a high school All-American. He would be right behind Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle. ... He's got a Kevin Durant body. People compare him to (Portland's Nicolas) Batum, but he dribbles the ball much, much better than Batum ever did. For a young player, he has an incredible feel for the game. He dribbles the ball extremely well for a 6-9 guy. He's a point forward -- extremely unselfish, high motor. ... I would project him down the road as an NBA starter. You cannot stick him into an NBA game for at least two or three years. You are drafting him like a baseball team drafting a high school pitcher. You're drafting him on potential, but this kid has the mental makeup and intangibles to be an NBA player."
3. Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
Fran fare: "Slightly overrated in my opinion. His athleticism will be a question mark. He's 6-7, a below-average NBA athlete, but he's a great shooter with a very good basketball IQ. ... Maybe a Kyle Korver. He's a guy who is going to absolutely make NBA 3s, but you're going to have to protect him some on defense. ... His dad was a Russian national team point guard. He thinks like a point guard. He's a ball-mover. He moves the ball well. ... The only thing that would hold him back from being a starter or star is his lack of athleticism. He'll be a rotation guy in the league because he's very smart and can shoot the heck out of it."
4. Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Fran fare: "This kid is 7-foot, has a 7-5 wingspan, runs, blocks shots. But he's still very weak. ... At 18, he was a phenom. At 19 and 20, he was a bust. In talking to some of my Brazilian friends, he stopped working. In the last year, it's come back around. He still needs another year or two of seasoning. .... He's a JaVale McGee type, but I think he's got a better attitude, and he's not as flaky. ... Zero offensive skill. He's a runner. He's a shot-blocker. He can set a ball screen and run right to the rim and catch lobs. ... He's 40 pounds from being Tyson Chandler. Can he put it on? I don't know."
5. Rudy Gobert, C, France
Fran fare: "He has crazy wingspan. He runs reasonably well. He's got a good motor. He's just a developmental guy. He's not dominating in France, which right now, is not a good level of competition. ... He's way better than (former French first-round pick Alexis) Ajinca. He's just not ready to play in an NBA game. I like the Brazilian guy better because he's got more bounce. ... [Gobert's] really not a stiff. He's just not strong enough right now to guard the Gasols and the real physical guys.
6. Alex Abrines, SG, Spain
Fran fare: "He's very similar to Rudy Fernandez without all of Rudy's immaturity and soap-opera stuff. This kid is similar to Rudy from a talent perspective. ... He's really a talented kid -- 6-6 shooter, athletic, 19 years old, got to handle it a little better, plays with flair. ... He's an All-ACC-caliber player. He's a legit prospect. He'd be an interesting early second-rounder."