Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, sat down with the ESPN crew to discuss his franchise and the direction they are currently going in. This transpired…..
“We’re rebuilding. Right? There’s no question about it. If we were in the East, we would not be rebuilding. We’d be handling things completely different. I think I’m going to kidnap Adam Silver and not let him out until he moves us to the Eastern Conference.”
Is he wrong? Let’s take a further look, starting with the season after the shortened lockout season.
The Mavericks finished that season with a 41-41 record. That team featured the likes of Roddy Beaubois, Jae Crowder, Derek Fisher, O.J. Mayo and yes, even Eddy Curry. Not exactly a star studded lineup surrounding Dirk Nowitzki and a younger Vince Carter. That 41-41 record would’ve landed the Mavericks a 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, but ultimately settled for 10th in the West.
Dallas managed to make a few small splashes that would prove beneficial at seasons end. They signed Monta Ellis and picked up Jose Calderon during free agency as well. They also brought back Devin Harris, who was drafted by the Mavericks back in 2004. Rick Carlisle got the most he could out of this bunch as they improved from a year ago and finished that season with a 49-33 record, good for the eighth and final seed, earning them a playoff bid. If they were in the East, that would’ve landed them the third seed and a date with the Washington Wizards. Instead, the Mavericks took on the #1 seed, San Antonio Spurs, and managed to push them to a game seven, which they ultimately lost. But who could forget this play….
The Mavericks managed to get back their defensive anchor in Tyson Chandler, and signed Chandler Parsons heading into the season to hopefully bolster their chances at a playoff run in the West. Before the All-Star break, Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and the Mavericks brass swung for the fences when they sent Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, and the 2015 first-round pick and 2016 second-round pick to the Boston Celtics in exchange for young Dwight Powell and Rajon Rondo. Ultimately, the Mavericks finished with a 50-32 record, good for the seventh spot, just a one seed improvement from the season before. Yet again, that would’ve meant a much higher seed out east, either the third or fourth spot. The Mavericks took on the Houston Rockets that season, and lost in five games.
My, how this season could’ve went. The Mavericks sent out Cuban and his big time recruiter, Chandler Parsons to hopefully snag some big name free agents heading into the 2015-2016 season. First, they landed Portland Trailblazers‘ shooting guard, Wesley Matthews. Matthews had just torn his achilles, but all signs pointed to a positive recovery. If healthy he figured to be the two-way player the Mavericks had coveted. Then the big splash took place when the Mavericks and big man DeAndre Jordan reached an “agreement” that would cement Jordan into the Mavericks future core…or so Cuban and Parsons thought. Just a couple days later and a ton of emoji’s sprinkled throughout them, Jordan reneged on his “agreement” and returned to the Los Angeles Clippers. By the time the dust had settled, Tyson Chandler already signed with the Phoenix Suns, and the Mavericks were left a bitter taste in their mouths. They would compete throughout that season, but finished with just a 42-40 record, beating out the Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth seed and ultimately getting swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder. If you are going off record, the Mavericks wouldn’t have even made the playoffs back east, as they would’ve finished with the ninth best record.
All of Mavs Nation knows how the latest episode of the Mavericks franchise went. They signed Harrison Barnes to a max-contract, and let Chandler “Pretty Boy” Parsons walk in the process. They signed Seth Curry to a bargain friendly contract, in hopes of igniting a career that had yet to even get started after three years on four different teams. The West was just far too good and it became clear that the Mavericks had begun to embrace the inevitable and start turning their attention to a rebuild. They started to play their younger guys in hopes of finding some potential, and along the way got to see their aging superstar sprinkle in some amazing moments throughout the season, like this one…
The Mavericks would finish last season with a 33-49 record (11th seed in the West) and miss the playoffs. That would’ve been good for the twelfth seed in the East.
The important thing to remember is that if the Mavericks were in the Eastern Conference that would have meant a lot more match-ups with those squads, as opposed to playing the deep Western Conference teams 3-4 times per year. Over the last few years, it’s become painfully clear just how stacked the West has become, and believe it or not, it got even deeper this summer. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs have been a problem for a while now, and now with the movement surrounding the Houston Rockets (Chris Paul, James Harden, & possibly Carmelo Anthony), Oklahoma City Thunder (MVP Russell Westbrook teamed up with Paul George), and even the young Minnesota Timberwolves (Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Jamal Crawford), the Mavericks will continue to get younger and build through the draft.
If Dennis Smith Jr. is any indication of the direction the Mavericks are now looking towards, things could be promising in a couple of years.
For now, all of us MFFL’s need to do something we haven’t done in over 20 years: Embrace the re-build.
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