The Mavericks believed they could get a rotation player at No. 17, where they were set to pick in the NBA draft. After all, this was pegged as a deep draft, and it was the Mavs' highest position since picking 12th in 2000.
But when the Mavs went on the clock, two of their top three targets were off the board and their third target, Oregon State guard Jared Cunningham, was a player they thought they could nab later in the first round.
So they made the first trade of the night with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dallas picked North Carolina center Tyler Zeller and sent him along with small forward Kelenna Azubuike to the Cavs for the No. 24, 33 and 34 picks.
At No. 24, Dallas selected Cunningham, a combo guard who led the Pac-12 in steals the last two seasons.
At No. 33, the Mavs took the feel-good story of the night, 27-year-old Florida State center Bernard James, who served three tours of duty in Iraq with the Air Force.
At No. 34, Dallas took hard-charging Marquette forward Jae Crowder.
Dallas also sold its 55th pick to the Los Angeles Lakers.
All in all, the Mavs didn't make a splash with a big-name college player that many fans thought they would. But, from owner Mark Cuban to general manager Donnie Nelson to coach Rick Carlisle, they were pleased with picking up three players to add to a roster that is undergoing major reconstruction.