After two years of Mavs front-office assistant Michael Finley representing the Mavs in the Lottery, this year it’s going to be CEO Cynthia Marshall who gets the honor of representing the team this year, owner Mark Cuban tells DBcom.
Marshall joined the Mavericks in late February of 2018, soon after a Sports Illustrated report broke the news about sexual harassment allegations and workplace misconduct within the organization. With over three decades of experience in corporate America, primarily at AT&T, Marshall immediately pledged to clean up the company culture and work on ways to improve the Maverick back office business.
Marshall, by most accounts, has done exactly that. Team employees have mentioned a changed culture within the office. However, I do not agree with the decision to make Marshall the team’s representative at the lottery.
First and foremost, the NBA draft lottery is a basketball event. It’s a brief but important chance for teams to potentially shape the course of their organizations for years to come. One bouncing ping pong ball is all it takes. A person representing the the basketball side of the business should sit in those seats on national television as we all await the results. With respect to Ms. Marshall, I don’t have a connection with her as a fan.
Second, sending Marshall is an attempt to try to remind everyone that the Mavericks are different now. It’s a way for the team to advertise that it is past the issues with sexual harassment and office culture. She’s both a CEO and a symbol for change. That’s all well and good, but the draft lottery isn’t the time to recall two decades of inexcusable workplace behavior followed by one year of long overdue action to correct it.
Third, and perhaps most irrationally, the draft lottery is the kind of event Luka Doncic was made for. Right now the Dallas Mavericks have a 6 percent chance of getting the number one over-all pick and a 26 percent chance of leaping into the top-four. Can you name a person affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks whom you’d want associated with a low percentage outcome? Is it the CEO named last year? Or perhaps a Wonder Boy with a known proclivity for hitting full court shots?
Big picture: None of this matters. It’s a numbers game with the lottery, so who sits there waiting for the announcement of the picks probably doesn’t matter. And yet I can’t help myself thinking that who sits there matters. They must play into the luck somehow. For that reason, above all, I wanted it to be someone different.
If the Mavericks win the lottery for the first time ever, though, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be the first to apologize for my lack of faith. I hope that I am wrong and that Marshall is the good luck charm I didn’t know Dallas needs.