The Dallas Mavericks were eliminated from any playoff scenario after losing to the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers winning the same night. The Mavs have not missed a playoff sine 2000. Should the Mavericks lose the rest of their games this season to improve their lottery chances in the 2013 NBA draft?
Honestly, this question came up before the .500 beard madness started. When the trade deadline came and went without any significant moves by Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, this question came up. Although the “Bank of Cuban” was open, nobody opened an account. Dwight Howard decided to stay in LA for the rest of the season at least. Josh Smith did not move even when Cuban spent the All-Star Weekend in Houston offering everyone except Dirk to the Atlanta Hawks. Even the Paul Pierce rumors led nowhere.
Judging purely in hindsight, the Mavs should have tanked a lot earlier in the season.
Winning every game (42-40) seems to be what the players are shooting far. After Wednesday night’s performance, any fan could make the case that this is not the case. Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, and even Rick Carlisle say their plan is to finish strong. This will give the Mavs at best a winning season by the statistics, but to be realistic .500 seems like a stretch these days.
Mark Cuban was one of the more vocal advocates of not giving up a potential playoff spot in order to boost their draft status. In a letter yesterday published by ESPNDallas Cuban admitted that is time to rebuild. His focus since splitting up the championship team has been mainly in the free agent market. Last year the Mavericks drafted Jared Cunningham, Jae Crowder, and Bernard James. Only Crowder was a true contributor this season while their first pick Cunningham could not get on the floor.
Losing every game however and finishing 38-44 doesn’t help their lottery chances. Either way, win or lose, they will be picking 13th or 14th in the draft. Right now the Mavs are playing for their own pride.