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The Mavericks’ win streak is a double-edged sword

At the halfway point in the season, the Mavs are starting to turn it around. But is that a good thing?

NBA: Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks EFE-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavs are on a three game win streak, and it looks like the team is finally meshing a bit and almost totally healthy. Despite their record, they are — inexplicably — only 3 games out of a playoff spot. That’s insanity. But, we hear you out there, #teamtank folks. It’s a good year to be bad.

So, this week we asked our staff: at this point in the season, are you rooting for the Mavs to tank or to win? Does it matter?

Dan (@danspeak_)

The Mavs are looking much better in the last 10, going 5 & 5. However, it still feels like they are still too mediocre to make a meaningful run at getting to the playoffs with a worthwhile seed. For me, the most important thing is that games are interesting. I won't be rooting for them to play bad just to lose, but I hope they don't play beyond their means and win too many upsets (albeit, they are fun to watch).

I think an ideal scenario would be the Mavs getting a top 7-8 draft pick, while developing Harrison Barnes even more into a weapon to lead this team going forward. As long as Dirk keeps hitting shots this season, I'll be pretty happy to be honest.

Bailey (@brogers789)

Tank tank tank. I honestly don't understand what "reward" or value it is to be the top of the garbage pile that is the back half of the West, only to be annihilated by Golden State. I don't want to undermine anyone who earnestly believes, probably justifiably, that going from worst in the conference to making the playoffs would be a big morale boost for the team. It probably would be, but at what cost? I'm not paying any attention to college basketball, but smart people keep saying how talent rich the top of this year's draft class is. Long term, we all know the Mavericks are going nowhere, fast, and this team appears averse to intentionally tanking. Why waste a legitimate chance at a great lottery pick, that was achieved without intentionally tanking (probably)?

I honestly don't see any real value in making the eight seed this season. It just doesn't make sense.

Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace)

On the one hand, wins are fun and it's nice to see the team develop. On the other hand, most of the teams Dallas has played in the last 10-12 games have been among the league's worst. I might feel different if the Mavericks hadn't lost winnable games versus the Suns and Timberwolves early in January, but this all feels like a bit of fool's gold, at least in terms of making a playoff run.

Obviously, the Mavericks are still close enough to the 8 seed (along with 6 other teams!) to where giving up and resting everyone wouldn't fly with this competitive bunch. But this should all sort itself out by the All Star break. Dallas is 13 games under .500 and they need to go on a real winning streak (maybe winning 8 of 10 or 11 of 15 games) before I'm convinced. The schedule tightens up a bit to round out January though, so this may take care of itself whether the Mavericks like it or not.

On a side note: the Dirk at 5 line up is REALLY fun.

Doyle (@TheKobeBeef)

I think I've said it consistently this season that the team isn't going to tank. They're too proud to do that. So, expecting them to tank now is foolish. But I also don't think their record is going to improve greatly. While they've been finding ways to win, this is a relatively easy part of their schedule. They'll still be picked apart by better squads. That said, watching them win is way more fun than watching them lose.

Josh (@Boweman55)

At this point, I don't care anymore. It's clear now that if the team had started completely healthy at the beginning of the season, they'd be fighting for the 7th seed, not just trying to get into the playoffs. So whatever. They aren't the worst team in the league and it's not like them winning is coming at the expense of younger players. Harrison Barnes is still the alpha dog, Seth Curry played 30 minutes against the Bulls, Dwight Powell, Salah Mejri and Dorian Finney-Smith are still in the rotation despite Dirk's return. Justin Anderson is out, sure, but that's because he's been bad this year -- he's had plenty of opportunities. Of course they should tank -- fighting for a chance to get slaughtered by the Warriors does nothing. I want one of those top-3 point guard prospects more than I want a son. But Dirk's still here, he still wants to kick ass, so who am I to disagree with him?

Oh, and I'll only be OK with this chase for the 8th seed if they trade Andrew Bogut. Please trade Bogut. Like, yesterday.

Chase (@ChaseBeakley)

This team is not going to tank whether it would be beneficial or not, and the sooner Mavs fans get that through their heads, the happier they will be. With competitors like Dirk, Wes, and Rick Carlisle in charge it's just not going to happen.

So faced with the knowledge that a top five pick is not in our future, we need to trade Bogut immediately and make sure we get every ounce of value out of him. Then our front office needs to start a comprehensive search for some draft diamonds-in-the-rough that might fall to the Mavs later in the first round.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy watching a team that fights hard no matter the circumstance and ingrains that team tradition into its young players.

James (@jykpark)

Let’s go for it. I want to see this team win. If I were the GM, maybe I’d be singing a different tune, but first and foremost I am a fan of the Dallas Mavericks, and for as long as I can remember, the Dallas Mavericks have been synonymous with Dirk Nowitzki. Maybe this team makes the playoffs, maybe they don’t but as a fan, it is a lot more fun to watch these guys compete and win then it is to watch them lose.

This has been said time and time again, but there is really no way around the reality that once Dirk retires, this team will be bad for at least a few seasons. Yes, I understand that drafting well with lottery position this year may shorten the period of time of the Mavs’ inevitable rebuild, but no matter how good the draft pick is, the Mavs wont recover fast enough for their success to amount to anything during the remainder of Dirk’s career. With that in mind, I want to see this group go for it. With vets like Dirk, Matthews, and Williams who actually seem to enjoy playing basketball together and a surprising group of youngsters in Barnes, Curry and DFS contributing, I’d be happy to see the Mavs try 4 times to steal a win from the Golden State Warriors. #webelieve?

Michael (@michaelofchang)

I don't think the Mavs can intentionally tank if Dirk is healthy and playing 25 minutes a game. It just goes against everything they've been about for the last five years as an organization. Also, the Mavs still have a nice little youth movement with several starters and rotation players in their early-mid 20s so it's not like Dallas is mortgaging their entire future for the playoffs, which would be another conversation. If these guys get in, it's a balanced act for present and future.

Also, do I gotta add? 10 year anniversary of 2007. Warriors and Mavericks do a swap. The Dubs will have the first seed and the likely regular season MVP. We owe 'em one. For Dirk. And for justice.

Danny (@DannyWebster)

Winning is fun. Tanking for at least one year to get one of those point guards is even better. Why should the Mavs scratch and claw their way to the No. 8 seed, only to get bounced out by the Warriors in a four-game sweep? As much as we would like there to be, there are no participation trophies for just making the postseason, and the Mavericks are in no position to win with this roster. Even if they make a trade at the deadline, they'd still be trying to catch up to the likes of New Orleans, Minnesota and Sacramento - teams that Dallas has beaten, but can be matchup nightmares. I applaud the effort Dallas has shown as of late, but it'll all be for nothing if they miss the playoffs and hold on to a fringe lottery pick.