Thursday, June 26, 2008

Prepared to stay at 51

The Mavericks remain busy on the eve of the NBA Draft, but are ready to stay with the 51st pick if better opportunities don’t present themselves.

“It’s been a very, very active last 48 hours,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said from American Airlines Center before the start of the Draft. “Don’t know how much of anything is going to get done. Right now we’re prepared to draft at 51.”

Nelson downplayed the likelihood of getting one of the top 14 picks, adding that lottery choices are being valued at a premium. The draft, he said, is “ambiguous” from about 15 into the 30s, with the players in that range not distinguishable.

Such ambiguity makes choosing in that range more difficult, especially when first-round guarantees are factored in. The Mavs are operating with certain “trigger points” to move into the first round. Nelson floated the scenario that if a certain player the Mavs like begins to fall, the team would be willing to deal up. Buying into the first round remains a possibility.

“It is deep enough to get down to 51, which is to our benefit this year,” Nelson said.

Should the Mavs stay at 51, the strategy is to draft the best player available regardless of position. Other than power forward, depth is needed at the other four spots. The number of international players could push an American collegian into the 50s, though the Mavs aren’t zeroing in on any one contingency.

“We’ll take the best player regardless of color, creed or country of origin,” Nelson said.

Listen to Nelson’s press conference at

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