The Dallas Mavericks finished the 2016-2017 season with a 33-49 record, which put the Mavs in a difficult spot to cash in during Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery.
The Mavs had just a 2.2 percent chance to land the top overall pick in the draft and a mere 8.2 percent chance of landing in the top three. With the odds stacked against them, Mark Cuban and the franchise had no real expectation the draft lottery would play out in their favor, and it didn’t. The Mavericks were awarded the ninth pick in the draft, which seemed to be the most likely scenario.
But darn if the Mavericks didn’t try their best (worst) to get as high a pick as possible. In a refreshing breath of fresh air, Cuban straight out admitted the Mavericks attempted to tank their season once it became official they would not be making a trip to the postseason.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban said during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show. Asked how the Mavs went about tanking by Patrick, Cuban said “You play all of your young players.”
Pressed to elaborate on how the tanking goes, Cuban admitted that it was not exactly a team-wide tank job, because once the players get an opportunity to play on the court, they are going to do their best.
“Once a guy walks on the court, they’re going to play their heart out,” Cuban explained. “Particularly the young guys because they have something to prove.”
Tanking is always much more of a front office strategy than it will ever be to the players, and maybe the coaches. The coaches can only play the players they are given to work with, which makes tank jobs more of a front office decision. The Mavs were certainly nowhere close to implementing a tanking strategy as we have seen in other towns, like Philadelphia, but it is still refreshing to hear a team owner admit it publicly in the way Cuban just did.
The Boston Celtics landed the No. 1 overall pick, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.