Are the Dallas Mavericks Tanking the Season?
Mark Cuban has always been seen as one of the NBA’s visionary owners, but is he ready to “trust the process”? The Dallas Mavericks have started the 2016-17 regular season in disarray at 3-13 SU and 5-11 ATS, easily their worst performance since the horror show of the 1990s. Cuban insists his team isn’t tanking and says it’s a bad strategy; he won’t even admit the Mavericks are in rebuilding mode. Smoke screen or otherwise, fading the Mavs has been highly profitable thus far.
We’re certainly not used to seeing this from Cuban’s pet project. For the most part, the Mavericks have defied the odds in recent years by bringing in a rotating cast of supporting players to complement Dirk Nowitzki:
- 2015-16: 42-40 SU, 45-36-1 ATS
- 2014-15: 50-32 SU, 36-44-2 ATS
- 2013-14: 49-33 SU, 44-38 ATS
- 2012-13: 41-41 SU, 48-34 ATS
Unfortunately, those moves have failed to get Dallas out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and Nowitzki (–5.7 BPM) has played just five games this year because of a sore right Achilles. It could be the beginning of the end for the 13-time All-Star. Point guard Deron Williams (–5.6 BPM) has also struggled with ankle and calf injuries, which is particularly bad news given the absences of both JJ Barea (calf) and Devin Harris (toe).
A Tale of Two MVPs
The situation the Mavericks find themselves in isn’t all that different from where Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers were three years ago. Bryant only managed to play six games in 2013-14 because of an Achilles problem, and then a broken knee; he posted a –5.9 BPM and was never the same again. The Lakers also lost three point guards to injury: Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, and Steve Blake. They finished 27-55 (40-40-2 ATS) and missed the playoffs for just the third time since 1976.
The Lakers wouldn’t admit to rebuilding, either, but they effectively tanked the next two seasons, draining bankrolls nationwide at a combined 38-126 SU and 72-87-5 ATS. Now they’re back on track with high draft picks like Julius Randle (+1.3 BPM) and D’Angelo Russell (+1.1 BPM). Cuban knows there might not be a lights-out prospect in the 2017 NBA Draft, but with Nowitzki hobbled at age 38, and his backcourt in tatters, the writing is on the wall.