The Dallas Mavericks are Tanking, But No One Will Admit It
Maybe the Dallas Mavericks have found an uncanny knack for giving up big leads, or maybe Carlisle knows how to disguise a tanking team. Either way, the Mavericks are ready to move up the draft board.
The Dallas Mavericks have lost 42 games. That is one of the most significant numbers to remember for the Mavs. That means that after 16 consecutive years of .500 or better, the Mavs will have a losing record.
The last time Dallas 42 games, Dirk Nowitzki was a mere 21 years old and averaging only 17.5 points per game. He probably still had to remember to take his earring out before each game. Now, he is going on 39 years old and Dallas is one loss away from finishing even worse than that team.
The means by which Dallas has gotten to this point are very interesting, however. In the times of tanking for draft position, most teams make it clear what they are doing. The Mavs, on the other hand, are doing it how most teams are afraid to do so. They play all their players, mix up rotations, and they win games.
Despite winning games still on a regular enough basis, Dallas has been losing many more. at 31-42, the Mavs have not been able to hit any sort of stride. The big reason for this is because injuries have been a huge cause for our losses. Dirk has missed games, Wesley Matthews has missed games, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Seth Curry, even Nerlens Noel have missed games.
This has forced young players into prominent roles and, although players like Yogi Ferrell, Dorian Finney-Smith, and even Jonathan Gibson have played well in these roles, it is still a tough situation to be in. Dallas just was not ready for that reliance. This, along with players like Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry adapting to new systems made huge impacts.
Rick Carlisle has been known to work his magic, even with the most bleak rosters, but this year it just seems like the hailstorm of frustration has won the battle. At least, that is how it would appear.
In reality, I have a theory that the Mavericks have been working on a fast-track rebuild with eyes on this draft from the beginning of the season. Dallas knew they were going to be hard-pressed to make the playoffs, let alone get past the first round. They found out they had steals with Barnes and Curry, but were missing some pieces.
So, instead of working people back from injuries, I think the Mavs have been allowing them to heal slowly with no emphasis on this season. Devin Harris, Barea, Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, and Dirk all missed significant time. And really now, is it likely that Carlisle would have allowed Dallas to blow that 13-point lead without getting a single basket?
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Whatever the case is here, I don’t think it is crazy to believe that Carlisle and Cuban are masters of disguise. Allowing everyone to believe that Dallas was still fighting for a playoff spot was all part of the plan. People want Dallas to win and MFFLs are loyal to the cause. A team rebuild had to be hidden in Dallas. And I believe that what we have seen this year is just that.