The draft could be months away (possibly no sooner than August), but that doesn’t mean that sleeper draft prospects haven’t been identified. Here’s a look at a starting 5 of likely undrafted prospects the Mavs could take a look at, with 2 NBA ready players and 3 raw, high upside players:
PG: Matt Coleman, Texas
Matt Coleman is someone that I have scouted several times in his 3 years at Texas. He has great quickness on both ends of the floor, runs a great P&R with plus vision, and he improved his jump shot as a junior to career best shooting efficiencies across the board. Coleman was considered raw before this year, but took a big step forward as a junior to become a more meaningful contributor. This is shown in almost all his advanced metrics, including his career best offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.
With the Mavericks, Coleman likely would be stashed in the G-League for a year or two before becoming a likely backup point guard in Dallas. Coleman’s newfound ability to play off ball as a spot up shooter, run the P&R, and defend are eerily similar to the skillset of Delon Wright. However, Coleman is 6’2 compared to Wright’s 6’5 and is less active in the passing lanes. Regardless, Coleman has a route to contribute if he continues along this trajectory.
SG: Quincy McKnight, Seton Hall
Quincy McKnight is one of the best defenders from the Big East, being able to guard both guards and small forwards with ease. McKnight also has shown the ability to be a secondary ball handler at Seton Hall and runs a smooth pick & roll. If his free throw percentage is any indication, he may be able to be an effective spot up shooter as well. As a 5th year senior, McKnight will get overlooked in this year’s draft, but should be given a chance to prove himself in training camp.
SF: DJ Jeffries, Memphis
DJ Jeffries was part of the elite 2019 recruiting class at Memphis, known best for his athleticism. While Jeffries is still raw, he has shooting upside with high level athleticism, which is a sought after combination. Jeffries can also create for himself off the dribble, but was not asked to do so in a high capacity at Memphis. In order to become a steal of an undrafted free agent, Jeffries needs to continue tightening his handle and improving his feel for the game. He would likely be initially assigned to the Texas Legends, but having Jeffries on a two-way contract could be valuable for the Mavericks as they continue to look for long term answers at wing depth.
PF: Kristian Doolittle, Oklahoma
Doolittle is a combo forward that will likely play most lineups as the power forward in the NBA that is trending small. He can bring the ball up the floor, create his own shot, and hit difficult shots. Doolittle is a limited athlete and needs to continue tightening his handle, but he will make a career out of his shooting and mismatch ability. His rebounding and strength allow him to play both forward spots, so he will have versatility on his side. Doolittle has a very good chance to slide to Dallas, but as a late bloomer, he could develop smoothly as another two-way player for Dallas. Doolittle’s upside is similar to that of Charlie Villanueva’s first year in Dallas as a shooter off the bench. While Doolittle may not immediately be the level of a shooter as Villanueva, what he lacks in shooting he can make up in other areas, such as P&R defense and creation for others. If the Mavs have any degree of roster flexibility, they should consider giving Doolittle a shot at the 15th roster spot before a two-way contract.
C: Kylor Kelley, Oregon State
Kylor Kelley has recently emerged on my radar after discovering one of the top shot blockers in the country this season. Kelly could be a great fit with Dallas due to his low usage rim running ability, something coach Rick Carlisle has often utilized throughout his years in Dallas. While Kelley is a senior, he is raw in needing to add strength and filling in the gaps on both ends to become a more complete player. Although Kelley is raw, he shows promising skills: quick leaping ability, excellent recovery time defensively, the ability to switch on the perimeter, high level athleticism, and a growing shooting form. Interestingly enough, Kelley’s agent, Mayar Zokaei, used to work with Dan Fegan, who had close connections with the Mavs. The combination of agent relationship and specific mold make Kelley a pragmatic option for Dallas.
Kelley comes from humble beginnings and is still learning the game, so he could be a useful project with little risk for the Mavericks to consider in some capacity. A notable comparison for him is Salah Mejri, who came over at 29. If the Mavs develop Kelley similarly to Mejri, they could consider that a notable win. One area, however, where Kelley has Mejri beat is his vision. Kelley showed a quick ability to feed cutters and shooters out of the post at Oregon State, which is another trait that the Mavs look for in big men.
Ultimately, Kelley has a lot of the traits the Mavs look for players to possess: low usage rim running, rim protection, and the ability to grow as a player. From the research I have done on Kelley, I believe he fits the mold of what Dallas both needs and is looking for, and can be a diamond in the rough in undrafted free agency.