On the bright side, Dallas moved out of the bottom slot in our NBA Power Rankings — they are now 29th. But the Mavs are still 3-13 — the worst record in the NBA — and Dirk Nowitzki still isn’t healthy. Their offense is a mess, despite the fact Harrison Barnes is playing well and Rick Carlisle is a genius, they just don’t have the pieces.
Is it time for the Mavericks to tank ahead of what is projected by many to be an excellent draft?
Not if you ask owner Mark Cuban. He spoke before a recent game, as reported by Tim Cato of SB Nation’s Mavs Moneyball:
“We’ll play it by ear. The one thing you don’t do is panic,” Cuban said. “If we just can’t get healthy, that will tell us one thing. If we can, and we’re just not any good, that will tell us another thing. If we can, and we start rolling along, and we think we can get a lot better, then that tells us what we do there. The crazy thing you don’t do is panic….
“We’re still trying to win,” Cuban said. “You see teams out there, and they’re doing everything possible to lose in the fourth quarter. I don’t think that’s good for the players, good for the team, good for the culture. I just don’t like that. You never say never if it came down to it, but I just don’t see that helping any of our young guys at all.”
He’s also not as high on this draft as some others, “I don’t see any Shaq’s or LeBron’s or Tim Duncan’s in this draft.” Well, that’s a crazy high standard, those kinds of guys are rare period. Most of the guys named near the top of this draft class now — Markelle Fultz, Dennis Smith, Lonzo Ball, Malik Monk — are guards, which fits the way the league is trending, but they are not the kind large of athletic freaks that Cuban listed (or that other GMs have at the top of their lists to build around, like Anthony Davis or Karl-Anthony Towns). But it’s far too early for draft talk here.
Cuban also said in another recent interview he’s not worried about trying to tank because if his team isn’t good, the bad record will just come naturally. He’s not going to force it, but the Mavs may end up with a high draft pick anyway.