Entering play on Friday night time, the Dallas Mavericks nonetheless had an out of doors shot at qualifying for the play-in match. They had been one loss again of the No. 10 Thunder, who do maintain the tiebreaker, making that an efficient two-game deficit with two to play. The Mavs wanted to win their final two and have OKC lose its ultimate sport vs. the Grizzlies.
Not seemingly. But potential.
Instead, the Mavericks, a workforce that traded for Kyrie Irving with a minimum of an inner intention of competing for a championship, unapologetically punted on any likelihood they may have had on the postseason by sitting Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood in opposition to the Bulls for “precautionary” causes.
Furthering the slap within the face to all followers who paid to see this sport, and Mavericks followers who had been holding out hope to look at their workforce within the playoffs, Dallas performed Luka Doncic for the primary quarter solely as a result of it was “I Feel Slovenia” night time. Per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Doncic did not need to “disappoint his countrymen” who got here to see him play.
This is such a shameful look, not only for the Mavericks, however for the NBA as a complete as this drawback of the most effective, most marketable gamers turning into more and more much less reliable to truly play, for one motive or one other, continues to wreck the league’s status and product.
If you do not know why the Mavericks pulled the plug on the season, it is as a result of they entered Friday tied with, coincidentally, the Bulls, their Friday opponent, for the Tenth-best lottery odds. The 2023 first-round decide that Dallas owes to the Knicks as the ultimate piece of the Kristaps Porzingis commerce is top-10 protected.
Meaning, if the Mavericks’ 2023 decide lands at No. 11 of decrease, they lose it to New York. Under the present lottery construction, it is a smart transfer. That’s why the construction stinks.
Anything that encourages an NBA workforce — contemplating the cash these guys make and the cash that, in flip, followers are anticipated to pay in both the type of tickets or cable packages — to place a nasty product on the ground with the intention of dropping video games is an unequivocally horrible, borderline insulting factor.
The final month of each NBA season all the time, to some extent, turns into a tank fest. And you perceive why, because it does make extra sense to prioritize lottery positioning than it does to possibly sneak into the play-in match solely to get bounced a number of days later.
It’s time to do one thing totally different. I do not know if the reply is flattening the lottery odds for each workforce 1-30. There are all the time unintended penalties of each setup. The entire concept of the lottery was to present a bunch of unhealthy groups an opportunity to get higher, however the unintended consequence of that’s giving groups an excellent motive to be unhealthy.
It’s not my job to determine the issue.
I solely know that it is an issue.
And hear, this drawback did not simply begin with the Mavericks pulling the plug this season. This is simply probably the most egregious circumstances, if not essentially the most egregious case, of tanking that we have seen, possibly ever.
Again, it is a workforce that made a blockbuster commerce to pair a second celebrity with top-of-the-line gamers on the earth. I can not consider one different state of affairs during which a workforce traded for a celebrity in the course of the season solely to then overtly punt on that very same season a pair months later.
It is only a shameful search for everybody concerned. The NBA’s common season has largely already turn out to be a joke, however that is about as laughable as I’ve ever seen it.
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