The Dallas Mavericks were not supposed to be this bad.
When the NBA regular season began, there was some optimism thanks to team owner Mark Cuban. He fulfilled his promise to Dirk Nowitzki that he was going to build a competitive roster around him until the German superstar decided to end his playing career. Cuban felt that he had done just that by acquiring two members of the Golden State Warriors over the summer.
Harrison Barnes was a restricted free agent. While the Warriors wanted to keep him around, they needed the additional cap space in order to lure Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder. When Barnes was allowed to be an unrestricted free agent, Mark Cuban was quick to pounce. The Dallas Mavericks also received Andrew Bogut in a trade, because the Warriors needed to free themselves of his salary.
Things have not worked out so far.
The Dallas Mavericks are sitting on a 2-13 record. That puts them at dead last in the NBA. Even the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets have more victories at this point in the season. That obviously was not something that Cuban was expecting when he was making big moves over the summer.
Even though there is still a lot of basketball left to be played, some NBA fans are notorious for overreacting to things. Some have suggested that the Mavericks tank the season so that they can get themselves a high pick in the upcoming draft.
But Mark Cuban refuses to let Dallas tank, as reported by ESPN.
While talking to reporters, the sometimes eccentric owner of the Mavericks flat out stated that it is not something that the team is considering. He feels that his franchise can still turn things around because the majority of the schedule is still ahead of them. Cuban noted that Dallas is less than six games behind the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs positioning.
Another thing that Mark Cuban noted was that tanking was simply not an effective strategy, pointing out that the worst team in the NBA has a 75 percent chance of not receiving the top pick. He also stated that there was not a player that is as sure fire a talent as a LeBron James or Shaquille O’Neal in the draft class.
The Philadelphia 76ers are an example of a team that has attempted to use the tanking method to build their roster up through the NBA Draft. Former general manager Sam Hinkie spent several years stockpiling assets. It ended up costing him his job, but it appears that the Sixers might be on the verge of seeing the fruits of his labor.
Over the summer, Philadelphia was able to acquire a potential franchise player in Ben Simmons. The former LSU Tigers star is expected to be the leading playmaker for the Sixers once he is healthy enough to get on the court. The team is excited that they might have found an All-Star forward who can play like a guard, making him rather difficult to defend.
In Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers are starting to see a potential All-Star center of the future. He has been putting up tremendous numbers, even though head coach Brett Brown is limiting the amount of minutes he has played. Brown is doing that to ensure that Embiid’s body can handle the NBA after missing two seasons due to injuries.
The tanking process also brought Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor to Philadelphia. The two of them might be utilized in upcoming trades to find talented guards.
There are no guarantees that this works out for the Sixers, so Mark Cuban is not about to take the same route.
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]