After a tough loss to the Tony Parker-less San Antonio Spurs
, I have to ask the tough question that no one else seems to want to ask: Why are the Mavs still trying to make the playoffs? Right now Dallas is 30-34, giving them the second best record among lottery-bound teams (only Utah is better). That means they won't have very many ping pong balls in play when this June's draft order is decided.
And I know their chances of getting a high pick are slim, even if they lose every game remaining on their schedule. But the bottomline is that lottery picks are more valuable than late round picks, so Dallas should be interested in securing a better pick. We have to be honest about the team we're watching. It's not championship caliber, or even close. If the Mavs somehow end up sneaking into the eight seed in the playoffs, they'll end up as nothing more than a sacrificial lamb for the Spurs or the Thunder
. Doesn't a lottery pick that can be used later as trade bait sound better than being a tune up game for an actual contender?
In the NBA, the worst thing you can be is mediocre (just ask any Hawks
fan). It's better to bottom out, stash draft picks and young talent, stay flexible with your cap space, and be prepared to make a move when the time is right. You never know when opportunity (or James Harden
) will come knocking.
Dallas is on the right track, though I wish they would have traded Vince Carter
at the deadline. Several contenders were interested in him, and the Mavs could have netted some decents assets in return. It's also a shame to watch him play this well for nothing. i never thought I'd say this, but Vince Carter deserves to be playing for something that matters. Dallas messed up by not moving him to a playoff team.
In conclusion, all of us--the fans, the players, and the Mavs front office--should recognize that this is not a team capable of competing for a championship. The goal for this season shouldn't be to squeak into the playoffs. It should be to stock up on assets in order to bring in difference makers this summer.