Being a young middle of the pack team like the Dallas Mavericks is one of the most frustrating times for an organization. It’s even worse when your upcoming first-round draft pick is conditional and has a low chance of materializing. Situations like these are good for one thing, seeing what your team is made of.
What’s a team to do in a situation like this? Try to convince Mark Cuban to tank for just one more year or make a major roster move. Overhauling the roster seems much easier than convincing Mark Cuban to do anything he adamantly refuses to do. You can almost hear the clock ticking on this decision as the season halfway points approaches.
Buying into a race to the bottom can guarantee Dallas a shot at one of Duke’s fantastic freshmen or another of this year’s lottery wings. But losing enough games to rival the league’s bottom feeders would be nearly impossible without having a historic losing streak. If the draft were to take place today the Mavs would be tenth in the lottery with a 4% chance of “earning” a top 5 pick.
The road to the eighth seed may be even more challenging than the road to the lottery. Without a major boost to their roster, the Mavs may not overcome the 2.5 games lead they face. Trading for an All-star two-way player could push the team over the edge but at what cost? A valuable wing could not only ravage their cap space but could also drain them of their current talent.
The crossroads that the Mavericks face is daunting. Whether they bide their time or push the issue, the Mavs will have to face the gauntlet of the west. Lucky for them their young core can wait out the primes of the western conference elite teams while gaining experience. Their upward trajectory is obvious but how soon they’ll reach their peak could be lamented by the moves they make this season.