Despite his team’s NBA-worst record, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stated earlier this week that he has no interest in tanking this season. In Cuban’s view, the benefits of tanking don’t necessarily outweigh the risks, since even the league’s worst team only has a 25% chance at the first overall pick, and clubs risk creating a losing culture by deliberately angling for a top draft pick.
Still, as Kevin Herrington of The Dallas Morning News explains, it wouldn’t be hard for the Mavs to engaged in a “natural tank.” With a handful of veteran players banged up and dealing with various injuries, there’s no need to push those players, says Herrington. It makes more sense to let them get healthy, perhaps trading a veteran or two, and to let the club’s younger players take on larger roles. No team this year looks as bad as last season’s 10-win Sixers, so the Mavs could very well end up with one of the NBA’s worst records even if they stay competitive, as Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post writes.
Let’s round up a few more notes out of Dallas…
- Mavs point guard Deron Williams has partnered with local MMA coach Sayif Saud to open a new MMA gym in Dallas, according to Mark Francescutti of The Dallas Morning News. Williams says his MMA training has helped lessen the effect of physical impact on his body, and hasn’t ruled out the idea of competing in the sport after his NBA career ends.
- With the Mavs struggling and his troublesome Achilles keeping him out of action, Dirk Nowitzki is “mired in basketball misery” at the moment, says Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. While Nowitzki likely won’t be afforded the luxury of finishing his career on a title contender like Tim Duncan did, he’ll still be remembered as one of the NBA’s great players when he calls it a career, as Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich asserts. “What they’ve done is iconic, unique,” Popovich said of Nowitzki and Duncan. “They deserve whatever accolades they get from whatever source. If each of them played seven more years and couldn’t do anything, they still deserve it.”
- Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News takes a closer look at the impact that Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle is having on younger players like Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell in Dallas this season.