The NBA’s lottery system often incentivizes teams to tank in the interest of obtaining a higher chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, and the Dallas Mavericks apparently did their best to do just that during the end of the regular season.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday to discuss the NBA Draft Lottery, and in typical Cuban-fashion, he made some noise by announcing that the Mavericks tried to tank once they were eliminated from postseason contention.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban said, as transcribed by CBS Sports’ Chris Barnwell. “If we did it upfront, if we knew this was a rebuild season and we just did it up front, you kinda know what kinda team you have. If you can get eliminated early and then start building momentum. You can finish your season 30-10 and end up with a boatload of ping pong balls.”
Cuban explained the best way to tank is to play your young players extended minutes, including Yogi Ferrell, Nerlens Noel and Dorian Finney-Smith. But the outspoken owner made sure to clarify that the players were not trying to lose.
“Once a guy walks on the court, they’re going to play their heart out,” Cuban said, per ESPN. “Particularly the young guys because they have something to prove.”
The Mavericks started the season 3-15 and finished with a 33-49 record. They went 2-5 after being eliminated from the playoffs.
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