The Mavs’ brutal 2-11 start – good for dead last in the NBA – probably isn’t how anyone around the organization envisioned this season would kick off. Rick Carlisle, in recent years, has somehow managed to get rag-tag Dallas teams to the playoffs, but things will have to turn around quickly and dramatically for that to be even a remote possibility.
It would help to get Dirk Nowitzki back, who’s missed eight straight games with a sore Achilles, along with Deron Williams, who has likewise missed time with a calf injury, but depending on how things pan out over the next month or so, the Mavs might eventually have to face the harsh reality that this is a lost season and start looking toward the future.
Q: Would you consider tanking this season?
A: We will look at that like game 75 or maybe game 70. Like I said many times when six teams are racing to the bottom you don’t want to race to the bottom. When teams aren’t racing to the bottom, which is more like this year, then you play your heart out and win as many games as you can. When your young guys learn how to play to win, you’re still going to have a chance at a good pick if things aren’t working for you.
There’s no question we knew we had to get younger. It wasn’t working just bringing in 30-35 year old guys all the time, and so we did it. We’re not winning games like we want but we’re hoping it’ll pay off dividends because the young guys are getting minutes.
The way things are currently going, the Mavs will likely know where they stand long before that point of the season. The lone bright spot has been Harrison Barnes, who after much doubt has managed to live up to the expectations of that enormous offseason contract. But his play alone won’t be able to right the ship.
Tanking is usually an organizational endeavor in which the front office assembles a roster that isn’t designed to win games, but this current incarnation of the Mavs might very well be able to achieve those ends on their own despite their best intentions.