Dallas Mavericks blatantly tank: Embarrassing or wise?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

How about, “all of the above?” The Dallas Mavericks were stuck in a no-win situation, so to speak.

On one hand they could go out, give it their all, and keep their playoff hopes alive. On the other hand they could make a bad situation worse, by winning just enough to forfeit their draft pick but not win enough to be a viable postseason competitor.

As most know by now, the Mavs only get to keep their draft pick this summer if it lands in the top-10. Otherwise it’s still owed to the New York Knicks (haven’t they taken enough?!?) for the Kristaps Porzingis trade that seemed to happen decades ago.

The Dallas Mavericks committed the cardinal sin by losing on purpose today, in hopes of a better tomorrow.

The tenth worst record means the Dallas Mavericks have a 65.9 percent chance of getting Pick 10 and a 13.9 percent chance of moving up to the top-four. If the Mavs would have won and claimed the 11th spot, they would have only been playing against the long odds of winning a top-4 pick in the lottery.

Logically, it’s a no-brainer.

At now point during the Kyrie Irving era in Dallas did the Mavs look like a legit playoff team. The “anything can happen in the playoffs” argument didn’t have to sit down and watch the Mavs play defense the past few weeks. The Mavs issues were not going to get fixed with the current roster.

Playing simply for an appearance in the play-in tournament isn’t enough to most. It clearly wasn’t enough to the Mavs front office who issued the tank edict upon Jason Kidd and staff. They saw the Mavs were poorly constructed and had no chance at winning a real playoff series.

They did the logical thing. Not many people can argue with that.

It was also really embarrassing to lose a game on purpose. If the Mavs could have forfeited the contest in advance and given the fans back their money it would be somewhat ethically acceptable. But the fans got cheated out of an honest competition and that’s hard to justify.

There’s also the integrity of the game that must be considered. People argue, every game should be treated with the same desire to win as the next. The first game should be just as important as the last.

This argument doesn’t hold quite as  much water because good teams do the same thing every season. Teams that have their playoff position locked down, mail in effort at the end as well. It’s just with different goals in mind. Weighing risk-reward is part of life and if there is no reward then why accept risk?

Tanking is an ugly part of sports that’s hard to justify. But it’s unavoidable with the way the draft order is constructed and there isn’t a clear option to change it.

The Dallas Mavericks blatantly tanked. It was both embarrassing and it was wise.