NBA Draft Lottery: Mavs Dodge A Bullet

Apr 8, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson and guard Deron Williams (8) during overtime at the Prudential Center against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Nets won the game 122-118 in overtime Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Wednesday night was a huge success for Dallas, as any chance they had of convincing Deron Williams to return home depended on the Nets not winning the lottery.

The New Jersey ... excuse me, Brooklyn Nets had approximately a 25% chance to nab one of the top three picks in tonight's NBA draft lottery. If they didn't get a top three pick, they wouldn't get a first round pick at all, thanks to a panic trade for Gerald Wallace.

If the Nets had won the No. 1 pick, the Mavericks hopes of getting Deron Williams would more or less have died. New Jersey would have used it to draft Anthony Davis or, more likely, trade for Dwight Howard.

That 25% felt as big as the moon. But, in the end, the Nets got the 6th pick. Which means they have no pick at all. Which means, basically, what they have to entice Deron Williams is what they already have-and what they have isn't much.

However, that doesn't mean the Deron Williams sweepstakes are over. The Nets can still offer Williams more money and more years as well as a very high-profile city to play in. While they only won 22 games last season, a lot of their struggles came as a result of injury.

Brook Lopez, their second best player, and player with the brightest future, played just 5 games last year (including a defeat of the Mavericks), averaging 20 points a game. The only reason the Nets could have traded for Dwight Howard, even with the #1, is because Lopez remains a hell of a piece.

Gerald Wallace, who may or may not be there next year, is a fine all around player, if hardly worth what was paid for him, especially given what it's now cost them.

The Nets have, in fact, 8 players who averaged in double digits last year which is ... gulp ... 4 more than the Mavericks had. Anthony Morrow is as deadly a three point shooter as they come and MarShon Brooks is a very talented young guard. Kris Humphries, if they decide to keep him, averaged 14 points, 11 rebounds and 1.2 blocks ... gulp ... 3 more boards than any Dallas player and more points than anybody but Dirk and Jet.

This is far from over. The next big days are June 28th, the date of the NBA draft, and July 1st, the start of free agency. Between now and then you will hear crazy things, I guarantee it.

But if the Mavericks had any hope of landing Deron Williams, it definitely seemed to depend on the Nets not getting one more crucial building block for their team or for trade.

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