NBA Draft 2023: What the Mavericks are getting in Olivier-Maxence Prosper

The Dallas Mavericks were the most active they have been on draft night in years. They were able to make more trades, get rid of Davis Bertan’s contract, still draft the player they wanted after moving down two spots, and use the exception they created to buy back into the first round. With the second pick in the first round, they selected Olivier-Maxence Prosper.

The basic

Prosper is one big wing. He measured in at 6’6.75 without shoes at the NBA combine. That will make him a hair over 6’8 with shoes. He combined that height with a 7’1 wingspan and 214 pound girth. The Mavericks have struggled to defend big wings over the last several seasons, which only got worse after trading Dorian Finney-Smith to Brooklyn Nets. Prosper will go through growing pains in this area, but he can match up physically with the Kawhi Leonards of the world better than anyone the Mavericks have had in years.


Man-to-man defense is definitely Prosper’s calling card. Prosper defends like he accidentally put on Icy Hot instead of deodorant because his hands are always up. This is a fundamental aspect of basketball that is sometimes lost, but it is noticeable when watching any video of Prosper defending. Mark Jackson has popularized the saying “hands down, man down”, referring to defenders giving up jumpers by keeping their hands down. He won’t say that about Prosper.

Prosper was an elite defender in college. Opponents shot 24 percent when Prosper was the closest defender and 26 percent on jump shots he contested, illustrating the value of keeping your hands up. This was despite Prosper almost always defending the opposition’s best player.

However, Prosper is not exclusively a one-sided player. He shot 37.5 percent on corner threes. He shot 41.8 percent, albeit at extremely low volume, from NBA threes. He also offers the ability to create off the dribble if his catch-and-shoot three is taken away. He had several plays where he caught the ball at the three-point line, drove past a closeout and dunked. It’s a skill the Mavericks’ three-and-d players have lacked over the years.

Finally, Prosper is a true elite athlete. He is explosive, quick and possesses great body control. He had the second highest standing vertical and the third highest running vertical at the combine. Anyone with a maximum vertical jump of 40.5 inches is exciting. He was also fourth in the track agility test and third, just 0.02 seconds behind the leader in the shuttle run. It is often true that athletes with peak explosion are slightly slower when changing direction. It’s a different sport, but consider that DK Metcalf is one of the most explosive athletes in NFL history. He also ran a slower three cone time than Tom Brady. That’s why Prosper’s excellence in both burst and directional skills is so impressive.


Despite his defensive tenacity and impressive physical skills, Prosper blocked 12 shots in his entire college career. The Mavericks need his individual defensive prowess, but they also need secondary rim protection against wings. Prosper doesn’t currently provide that, and it can be difficult to instill those instincts in a player who doesn’t naturally possess them.

The lack of off-ball rim protection also makes it incredibly unlikely that the Mavericks will be able to get away with playing Prosper as a small-ball center despite his ideal physical attributes. He can still be an important part of a small ball lineup with his athleticism and shooting, but he can’t be the center in those lineups without a ton of development.

He’s also a bit of a black hole offensively. While he possesses upside shooting and the ability to attack closeouts, he had just 24 total assists in 36 games last season. He also had 50 turnovers, meaning he had less than half as many assists as turnovers.

Compatible with Mavericks

His fit with the Mavericks is almost perfect. If he had the shot-blocking skills that his size and athleticism indicate he should, that would be perfect. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will handle the Mavericks playmaking load. While it would be nice if he displayed the ability to create for others while attacking an off-balance defense, that’s not necessary with the Mavericks staff. He can both shoot and attack the rim, which will be plenty given the Mavericks’ other offensive options.

He should also prevent Maxi Kleber from having to double as both the Mavericks’ best big wing defender and best utility defender. When they share the court, Kleber should be able to return to primarily being a help defender, while Prosper defends the most dangerous big wing. Kleber had some slips defensively last season, but clarifying his role and offloading some of the huge defensive load he takes should help limit or reverse the decline.

NBA comparison

PJ Tucker is almost too obvious. Tucker is also a stubborn defender who doesn’t really provide rim protection, at least not through blocking shots. Tucker has averaged 0.2 blocks per game. game in his NBA career, and everyone would be thrilled if Prosper matched Tucker’s defensive output.

Prosper is both about two inches taller and has about two inches more wingspan than Tucker. Combine those with his aberrant athleticism and he could or should be able to become something of an evolutionary Tucker. It’s tempting to suggest he also has more offensive upside, but it’s important to remember that Tucker was also an offensive star in college. Overall, Tucker has been a player that teams have loved to have for the majority of his career. Mavericks will love to have Prosper for many of the same reasons.

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