Not Knowing How To Suck..Sucks

Not since 2000 have the Dallas Mavericks watched a whole NBA Playoffs without their own film scattered amongst the contents. That season marked the first of Mark Cuban’s hands on, involved with basketball, let’s-actually-spend-money-on-our-product owning regimen. It was also season 2 of Dirk Nowitzki’s career and his last chance for an extended summer vacation to Germany. The names have changed – and boy have they changed – but above all, Mark, Dirk and postseason basketball have remained the same.

DirkandCuban

Just like any Owner in sports, no matter the circumstances, Cuban has made magic of misery but also has created misery. Steve Nash and Erick Dampier remain incomparable and incorporating Antoine Walker’s existence into the Mavs brand is still highly questionable. But in 2011, that ring thing happened.

Following the “lightning in a bottle” championship run, Cuban indeed acknowledged such a dub and scrapped the title team.

His plan was simple and sensible, but risky beyond words. Words like “Dwight” and “Deron.” Dismantle your team, champions but far from a dynasty, with eyes on the future free agency market. The idea was respectable in a league driven by star power more than anything else. But the risks, oh the risks!

The risks have become a reality as Dallas struck out on Deron Williams, Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers and the Clippers have given Chris Paul the keys to their franchise.

Cuban’s plans were put off for another year until the next annual free agency, but at the cost of another year of being in the middle of the pack, never a good place to be unless you’re a deer wishing to not be noticed by a tiger…or something like that.

The 2012-2013 Mavericks, in year two of risky-plan induced limbo, entered February with a 19-27 record and very much on the outside looking in of the NBA playoffs. Their most consistent players have been Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. OJ Mayo has been a viable free agent consolation prize and I’m like 99 percent sure Derek Fisher started a few games for us this year.

The first few months were iffy at best but generously sugarcoated by the absence of “dat dude” Dirk Nowitzki, who injured his knee in the pre-season.

Rick Carlisle has tried just about every trick in the book, including actually using Roddy B and playing two rookies – 2nd rounders even – Crowder and James.

Coating of sugars cannot hide that this team truly is Not. Very. Good. They have a superstar in decline, no reliable secondary players, and a weak supporting cast. All this has graciously eluded the Mavs over the past decade, but this season looks like the one that will end well before May.

saddirk

The Mavericks are 7 games under .500 and 5 games out of the final West playoff spot as of February 8, uncharted territory for Cuban and Nowitzki, and they’re showing it, too.

This very, very successful era of Mavs basketball has never experienced such inconsistency and mediocrity. Dirk continues to give his heart to the game and the fans, but just doesn’t have the cast to do what he’s grown so accustomed to doing.

As charismatic and intriguing as ever, Mark Cuban is there every game courtside hoping for things to improve. Surely he expected a decline in production should his plan take longer to materialize, but I don’t think he expected this.

Not this bad.

Outside of year one, he’s never had a squad like this one and frankly, MFFL’s like myself aren’t sure if he knows how to handle being bad.

 

Raise your glasses and pray things continue to go terribly in L.A. Also, apparently the Mavs players aren’t shaving until they get above .500. I didn’t want to open myself up to such demoralizing jokes, but hey…worth noting, I guess.

noshave@MFFLJBM51D

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