The Dallas Mavericks were on the wrong end of an epic collapse to miss the postseason. They won just seven of their final 25 games as Dallas slipped from fourth to 11th in the Western Conference. The Mavs tanked their final two games, and it was so bad that the NBA opened an investigation into their actions.
The franchise did it to try to keep their draft pick. They owe it to the Knicks with a top ten protection meaning if the selection falls 11 through 14 it heads to New York. Dallas did not want to miss the playoffs and give the Knicks the 11th pick, especially after they signed Jalen Brunson in free agency last summer.
Losing their final two games clinched the Mavs having the tenth-worst record, but that does not guarantee that they keep their draft pick. The NBA Draft lottery is on May 16, and that will set the final order for the 14 teams that missed the playoffs. It will be a franchise-altering night, especially with Victor Wembanyama waiting for whoever gets the number one pick, but no team has more riding on the lottery than the Mavs. Here is why it will be a massive night.
Dallas Mavericks lose their first-round pick if someone jumps them in the 2023 NBA Draft lottery
The Mavs can either move into the top four or select tenth or worse. The top four picks are selected on lottery night with the remaining teams draft in inverse order of their regular season record. It will be a nervous night because of where Dallas is positioned.
They have a 3.0 percent chance of winning the lottery and getting the number one overall pick, and a 79.8 percent chance of staying in the top ten. In one out of five scenarios, the Mavericks still send their draft pick to New York, and their tanking was for nothing.
There is a ton of added pressure because the team does not want to lose Luka Doncic. There are already rumblings about his future after a rough season in Dallas, and the team needs to build a better roster around him, but the draft lottery could change that calculus.
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