For the Dallas Mavericks, Tank-a-thon 2018 is soon coming to a close, but they have one last important game to lose in order to call this season a successful failure.
Someone unfamiliar with the NBA and it’s draft process probably finds this title and lede pretty darn confusing. Calling something a “successful failure” practically fits the definition of an oxymoron, yet it’s precisely what this season aims to be.
The Dallas Mavericks began the season with the lowest of expectations. They knew full-well the playoffs were a massive longshot and the best way to become winners was to lose. Now, on the cusp of completion, they face their most difficult task of the season – losing to the worst team in the NBA…
All About the Lottery
From the moment the season began, the primary goal of the 2017-18 campaign was to lose enough games to claim a spot at the top of the NBA Draft. While having the worst record in the NBA doesn’t ensure the top pick in the draft, it sure as hell helps.
As most of us know, the NBA Draft if a lottery system with the odds stacked according to final record. The worse the final record – the better the odds of snagging a high pick. That’s why we see so many self-aware teams TRYING to lose this season. Because if you don’t have a legitimate shot at contention, you might as well lose and try to get as high of a draft pick as possible.
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One Player a Difference Makes
All sports see tanking to a degree, but in the NBA, it’s downright blatant. That’s because many times it only takes one All-Star player to completely turn around a franchise. All-Star players can technically be found anywhere, but they’re most often found at the very top of the draft.
If a team can secure one, they not only improve significantly on the court, but they become more attractive to outside free agents looking to latch on to a team with a bright future.
Toughest Task Yet
Tuesday night, the (24-57) Dallas Mavericks face the last place (20-61) Phoenix Suns.
While Phoenix sits comfortably in last place – with nothing to win and nothing to lose – the Mavericks are narrowly holding the third worst record (and subsequently third best odds of getting the top pick).
The Suns are going to finish the regular seaosn with the NBA’s worst record, whether they win or lose. The Mavs could rise (in a bad way) to the fifth worst record with a win, but secure the third worst with a loss.
Losing isn’t going to be easy for the Mavericks but given the Suns current situation where winning will not hurt them, Phoenix may be inclined to try harder than they’ve shown throughout the season.
One more loss, Mavs. Don’t screw this up and win.