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Mavericks snap 35-game losing streak by bottom-nine teams against rest of NBA

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban talks about tanking a lot for someone in his position, to the point he got fined $600,000 by the NBA.

But he can point to Dallas’ 109-103 win over the Pacers last night as proof his team isn’t completely devoted to losing.

There’s a clear line in the NBA standings between competitive and uncompetitive teams. Those beneath the line:

  • Suns (18-44)
  • Hawks (18-43)
  • Kings (18-42)
  • Magic (18-42)
  • Grizzlies (18-41)
  • Mavericks (19-42)
  • Nets (20-41)
  • Bulls (20-40)
  • Knicks (24-38)

The worst team above the line is the 26-34 Lakers, who don’t have their own 2018 draft picks and have enough talent to put up decent fights. Brooklyn also already traded both its own 2018 draft picks, but the Nets’ roster is so lacking, they resemble tankers.

Those bottom nine teams had lost 35 straight games against the rest of the league before the Mavericks’ victory. The last win had come more than two weeks earlier, when the Hawks beat the Pistons.

Expect much more losing from the bottom group. The incentive is high leading up to what appears to be a top-heavy draft. The lottery standings are so tight, each win could be detrimental. This is the final year before the NBA evens lottery odds in an attempt to dissuade teams from chasing the absolute basement.

The Kings lost to the Timberwolves later last night, which could start another streak. The Bulls (at Hornets), Nets (at Cavaliers) and Kings (at Trail Blazers) are all on the road tonight.

PBT Extra: One last mock draft of NBA lottery

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DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).

After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.

Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.