SBD/May 18, 2017/Franchises

Mavericks' Mark Cuban Says Team Tanked At End Of Season By Starting Young Players

Dorian Finney-Smith was among the young Mavericks who received playing time
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban yesterday said that his team "tanked after it was eliminated from the playoffs," according to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Cuban, appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show," indicated that "giving all the Mavs' young players the green light at the end of the season was their way of tanking." Patrick asked Cuban how the team tanked, to which Cuban responded, "We played all our young players." Cuban said that he did not explicitly "tell players to start sandbagging." Cuban: "Once a guy walks on the court, [they're] going to play their heart out, especially the young guys because they've got something to prove" (, 5/17). Cuban said he would never tell players "'don't play hard' or 'try to lose this game.'" He said, "That wouldn't be right and I don't think any NBA team would ever do that" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 5/17). In Ft. Worth, Roger Pinckney noted Cuban's admission likely "won't go over well" with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who has "previously addressed the tanking issue" (, 5/17).

BIG DEAL OR NO DEAL? In Dallas, Eddie Sefko writes the Mavericks may have tanked, but they "did it the right way, if there's such a thing." It "didn't work as well as they'd hoped," as they are "still picking ninth" in next month's NBA Draft (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/18). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton wrote, "Yawn. Every losing team plays its young players." There is "doubt Cuban will be fined, not once the league hears the entire interview," but he "should know his words feed headlines." He was "talking about ping-pong balls, not rigging game outcomes" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/18). ESPN's Pablo Torre said Cuban said something a "lot of people believe," though he is "just saying it very clearly and very loudly" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 5/17).

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes the NBA Draft Lottery is an "abject failure." It does "not do what it was intended to do -- promote parity and help woebegone franchises lift themselves from the muck and mire." The current system allows too many teams to "quit trying, either during the season or in some cases before the season." Additionally, there are "far too many teams" that tank, which is a "black eye for a league that is built on competition." The "biggest competitive scandal in the NBA" is the "number of teams that don't try to win." It is "time to stop rewarding losing" (OKLAHOMAN, 5/18). ESPN's Brian Windhorst said, "The system incentivizes tanking, and that’s why teams do it. What the league needs to do is come up with a way to deincentivize tanking” (“OTL,” ESPN, 5/17).  The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw said Silver “shouldn’t worry about what Mark Cuban said, which is true." Silver should "worry about the reality of what the lottery system has become.” The Washington Post’s Kevin Blackistone said the lottery “incentivizes losing” and it would be “totally disingenuous for the NBA -- which has turned this into a television entertainment show -- to then come back and penalize one of its own for taking advantage of the system” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 5/17).
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