2018 NBA Mock Draft: What if Memphis wins the lottery?

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins /
27 of 30

Jaren Jackson. 4. player. 79. . F/C. Michigan State

For teams picking at the very top of the draft, the debate over what to look for in a draft selection can be tough — is massive upside necessary? How do you value a solid floor or foundation? Does the player need to be able to score consistently? Those questions are important, and I think for many teams the answers will preclude them from getting excited about Jackson. Not the Mavericks.

Not only can they expect development from Dennis Smith Jr., the guy many were picking to win Rookie of the Year just eight months ago, but there are enough veterans on this team to handle the scoring load. Dallas is also in position to tank next season as well, meaning any specific qualities they might need from their players in the future is moot in the short term. They are riding Dirk Nowitzki’s career into the sunset, without much of a future visible at this point. If any team should focus on taking the best player available outright, it’s the Mavericks.

Jackson, if given room to make mistakes and try stuff, could become the best player in this class. From a value perspective, considering what currently is working in the NBA, you could make the case Jackson should have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick. Watch Draymond Green and Al Horford in this year’s playoffs and you get a good idea of how valuable versatile big men can be.

Jackson has the potential to be that special, and the Mavericks have the space to develop him into that player.