Speaking of, remember that game against the Portland Trail Blazers on April 3? When the West’s third seed rolled into Dallas, without its playoff standing locked in, and promptly laid the biggest turd I’ve seen in some time? The Mavericks won 115-109, one of just two wins in the final 14 games.
I mean, look at this liquid diarrhea of a box score:
What in the holy hell, Portland. The Mavericks gave 31 minutes to Maxi Kleber, 22 minutes to Salah Mejri and 26 minutes to Aaron Harrison, and the Blazers still had something to play for and THIS is what we got? Throw the entire city of Portland in jail. Court-martial the whole roster. Maroon Terry Stotts on an island. Send Evan Turner to Siberia. Lock Damian Lillard in his recording studio and throw away the key. Liquidate all the bicycles on the planet. Outlaw facial hair. Portland must pay.
Look at this garbage:
Of course, a win there probably doesn’t change much, but who knows. The Mavericks finished the season tied with Atlanta for the third-worst record in the NBA, which means they basically had to split the draft odds (the Mavericks won the tie-breaker with a coin flip, which tossed some of the percentage points toward Dallas). So while the Mavericks had the third-best odds at the number one pick, it wasn’t the normal third-best odds. Maybe those extra ping pong balls would have helped. Maybe the city of Dallas gets swallowed by an earthquake tomorrow. The point is, nobody knows. All we know is this sucks.
Maybe this is what the Mavericks get. Mark Cuban blabbed about the Mavericks tanking to Julius Erving, and while the Mavericks players fought like hell all season, the team was just as shamelessly tanking as the rest of the bottom of the league. They just hid it a bit better. Remember all those Kleber-Mejri frontcourts? Ugh. All that to drop down two spots from what your record showed.
Because the Mavericks’ roster is a barren wasteland of talent, whoever they pick at No. 5 will still be really good and really useful, but who they probably won’t get still hurts. Say goodbye to your Luka Doncic dreams, the ones where he and Dennis Smith Jr. spin the league on its head in Rick Carlisle’s flowing offense. Bid adieu to DeAndre Ayton, who looks like prime Wilt Chamberlain traveled in time to 2015 and has been working out ever since. Give a nodding farewell to Marvin Bagley III, who averaged 21 and 11 as an 18-year-old in the damn ACC.
Luckily the Mavericks should end up with one of Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba or any of the other highly regarded wings behind Doncic, like Mikal Bridges or Michael Porter Jr. Jackson or Bamba is the way to go for me, but honestly any of those dudes should be fine. Bamba and Jackson could end up being defensive marvels, which would be a nice bookend with Smith. Bridges and Porter are big wings who can shoot, and lord knows every NBA team can use as many of those as possible.
If you told me before the season tipped off that the Mavs would be pairing Smith with a top-five pick I would have gladly taken it. Things could be worse. They could have been sixth!
But optimism is for tomorrow; today is for rage. The draft lottery sucked ass. And seriously, let’s throw the entire Portland Trail Blazers organization into the ocean.