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Mark Cuban is Embracing Tanking

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Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban is coming around on tanking after questioning the strategy when employed by the Sixers.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, well, well.

Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban: flip-flopper!

In years past, Cuban has slighted tanking with a cover-your-ass disclaimer that it is only acceptable if there are real difference-makers in the draft.

”There are so many teams that became four years away from four years away because guys just learned how to lose. They stopped caring about any individual game and just got used to it, and you don’t want guys developing those bad habits. We have so many young guys on this team, we want the games to mean something. Not to be, ‘OK, who are we going to pull in the fourth quarter so we can lose this game?’ That’s not how teams develop good habits. There’s no good reason to tank unless you think that there’s three difference makers. Not just All-Stars but difference makers.”

First of all, the idea that there has to be more than one difference maker is preposterous. This would indicate Cuban believed that it is better to be slightly below mediocre, miss the playoffs and draft in the back end of the lottery, than lose for the chance at only one superstar. Dumb! But we have tirelessly discussed the merits of tanking. And while the Sixers have missed here or there, every single year of tanking culminated in a draft producing no-doubt-about-it difference maker(s). 2014: Joel Embiid. 2015: Karl-Anthony Towns & Kristaps Porzingis. 2016: Ben Simmons. 2017: jury is out, but man, Donovan Mitchell sure looks like one despite his inferiority to Simmons.

Present day, Cuban recently appeared on Dr. J’s podcast, House Call with Dr. J, (which, by the way, is a really sweet name for the podcast of someone nicknamed doctor) and Cuban discussed tanking.

“I told players losing is our best option. Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but at least I sat down and explained it to them. I explained where we are going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This is like a year and a half of tanking and that was too brutal for me.”

Cuban’s team just happens to be in a position to tank when there are finally difference makers in the draft? Malarkey. Most drafts have (a) difference maker(s); all you need is the smarts/courage to tank and the foresight and luck to hit. What’s really going on here is that Cuban is watching his Mavs and thinking, “Damn, we are really, really far away and there’s no free agent fix.” No fear, Mark. We’ve been there, and happy to report: tanking works!

Oh also, wait, what? “Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but at least I sat down and explained it to them.”

What the hell does that even mean? Adam Silver wouldn’t be happy with the Mavs tanking, but it’s justifiable because you found a place to transfer your body weight and proclaim your false belief that you won’t need to be bad anymore if you could only just get a high pick in this upcoming draft?

Hey Mark: if you believe you’ll be a contender after this season if you could just get a high draft pick in 2018, you’re four years away from being four years away.

Mark Cuban is a smart man, usually. (Shark Tank is a guilty pleasure.) And tanking is the best option for the Mavericks. So Sixers fans, relish in the fact that this is just billionaire hypocrite Mark Cuban’s way of admitting what you already knew all along: you were right.