With just 6 games on the schedule, Dallas remains on the outside looking in. Sitting at the 11th seed, the Mavs are just a half game back from the Thunder/Lakers.
Dallas owns the tiebreaker over the Lakers, but not Oklahoma City.
Heading into this final stretch of games, you can’t help but question how motivated Dallas would be, or should be, to catch fire and rack up some wins. No question about it, the organization wants to win – we all want to win.
But maybe, just maybe, it’s in the Mavericks’ best interest to lose. To tank.
For me personally, it’s hard to get behind an end of season tank after being just three wins out from the NBA Finals a year ago. I also don’t feel far removed from the ‘tank but not a tank’ job by the ’17-18 Mavericks that then head coach Rick Carlisle best put into words as, “you can’t put lipstick on a pig”.
But there is a part of me that recognizes the value behind doing so.
While the draft is deep with talent, Dallas would have to land in the top 10 to retain their pick. Any pick lower than 10 would convey to the New York Knicks (Porzingis trade, circa 2019).
I can’t help but find myself on tankathon and dreaming of adding young talent that would provide an immediate lift in either of the two departments that Dallas needs the most help in – on ball defense and/or a big. Players such as Carson Wallace or Anthony Black come to mind defensively, or potentially a player like Dereck Lively.
I don’t think many of us have enjoyed the product on the court the past few weeks. Sure, there have been injuries involving both Doncic and Irving, but the end of game collapses and back to back losses to Charlotte (whom Dallas had been favored by 16 points) have warranted this conversation.
As I said, the play as of late that has positioned us so low in the standings have warranted… the conversation. I’m not saying that Dallas absolutely needs to tank. I truly find value behind both avenues that Dallas can take. When you have two All-NBA players in Doncic and Irving, anything can happen. (I mean think back to 2016 and getting hot out of nowhere to work our way into the playoffs). The obvious fear is sneaking into the play-in, getting eliminated early, and missing out on a potential game changing draft selection.
We’re all just along for the ride, so buckle in for these last 6 games. The Mavs showed some life, ending their 4-game losing streak with a 127-104 win over the Pacers. A lot can change, one way or another as we close out the regular season.