Heading into this season, few were picking the Dallas Mavericks to make the playoffs. That said, few were also picking them to be the worst team in the competitive Western Conference. At 2-10, the bottom of the West is exactly where the Mavs find themselves this morning. That dismal start to the season combined with how difficult the West is this season might lead some front offices to re-evaluate the goals for 2017-18.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban, however, sounds like he's not quite ready to throw in the towel on this campaign and is making it clear his team will be competitive as long as it can. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News has more:
Did Mavericks management, primarily owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, overestimate the talent level of the roster they handed to coach Rick Carlisle and his staff this season?
Is this already a lost season? Should the Mavericks start positioning for an optimal draft position, similar to late last season, when Cuban admitted they kinda, sorta tanked games?
"But not until we were eliminated," Cuban reminded Tuesday night before his Mavericks, then 1-10, faced the Wizards in Washington D.C. "And until we're eliminated, we ain't tanking here, either.
"I still think we can turn this around," he said. "We've been in 1-9 stretches during various parts of various seasons in the past, so it's not like we haven't been here before. It's just that you never want to start the season like that."
Dallas' schedule the remainder of this month and into December is one of the toughest in the NBA, so the hope for a turnaround may be a tall ask, Townsend writes:
Nelson said everyone in the franchise was well aware of the difficult October-November-December schedule, arguably the most arduous in the NBA.
During a 10-minute assessment of the season to date, Nelson never mentioned injuries. The Mavericks are a no-excuse franchise. As for whether the current mix of players is strong enough to climb out of the hole and contend for a playoff spot ...
"I think it's a little early in the game to make a full assessment of that," Nelson said. "I think Rick is pushing all the right buttons. We knew the early going would be tough. We knew we were in for it. That's why those first two games at home were important.
"It's mostly us not playing well. That's kind of where we find ourselves, the first eighth of the season in."
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