The Dan Patrick Show passed along comments the outspoken Mavs owner made about the idea of tanking after the team landed the ninth overall pick in the draft lottery Tuesday night:
Dan Patrick Show @dpshow
"Once we were eliminated from the #playoffs we did everything possible to lose games."-@mcuban on the @dallasmavs tanking https://t.co/YRGnncqboE2017-5-17 14:15:34
Dallas finished the regular season with the league's ninth-worst record after posting a 2-8 record over its final 10 games. It missed the Western Conference playoffs by eight games.
In November, ESPN's Tim MacMahon noted Cuban didn't believe tanking entire seasons in an effort to accumulate a series of high draft picks was a formula for long-term success.
"There are so many teams that became four years away from four years away because guys just learned how to lose," he said. "They stopped caring about any individual game and just got used to it, and you don't want guys developing those bad habits. We have so many young guys on this team, we want the games to mean something. Not to be, 'OK, who are we going to pull in the fourth quarter so we can lose this game?' That's not how teams develop good habits."
The bottom line is the current setup leaves little incentive for teams to win games after the postseason is no longer a realistic goal. Changing the lottery format and odds only does so much because being closer to the bottom is still an advantage in the end.
Steve Aschburner of NBA.com noted commissioner Adam Silver called tanking "a different kind of resting," referring to the league's problem of coaches sitting high-profile players for nationally televised games, and said the look is treating it seriously.
"The larger subject of the lottery, the odds for the lottery, how so-called lottery picks are protected [in trades]," he said. "That is something that we discussed at our board meeting and agreed that we need to revisit it in a holistic way."
One idea that's been brought forth in the NHL amid several teams openly plotting to lose for a shot at top prospects is the "Gold Plan," which Patrick also mentioned to Cuban in their interview. It suggests placing teams in the draft order based on the number of points, or in the NBA's case wins, after they are mathematically out of playoff contention.
Cuban, though, believes teams would simply try to get eliminated from the playoffs earlier and expressed belief that the current system doesn't have a better solution as of yet.