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2012 NBA Draft Reaction: SB Nation Grades Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks seemed to have made a decent pick at No. 17 when they picked up Tyler Zeller, but they traded him along with Kelenna Azubuike to the Cavaliers soon after for Jared Cunningham, Bernard James and Jae Crowder.

SB Nation's NBA editor Tom Ziller gave the Mavs an "A" in his Western Conference draft grades on Friday. You can read Andrew Sharp on the East right here. But here's Ziller's point on the Mavs:

Dallas saved money by moving down from No. 17 to No. 24 both because Azubuike is gone and there are savings as you move down the first round. The Mavericks can test out James and Crowder in Summer League and training camp, and do not have to make a real commitment until after the Deron Williams matter is settled. Brilliant draft for Dallas, even if it only results in one bit player going forward. Textbook handling for a team maximizing cap space and flexbility.

What's important to not here is that while the Mavs didn't make any big splashes in the draft and traded away their most well-known and recognizable pick, they still came out with one player they were interested in, which is Cunningham. Head coach Rick Carlisle is really high on him, so much so that he's apparently compared him to Russell Westbrook.

Maybe that's lip service, and maybe it's a basketball coach knowing more than us spectators.

And they got rid of Lamar Odom, too.

Read more about the Mavericks at Mavs Moneyball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.