Mark Cuban is the most passionate owner in the NBA when it comes to wins and losses. He regularly sits behind the bench during games and can be seen actively rooting for his team to win.
The idea that the Mavericks would tank an NBA season by putting a subpar product on the floor in order to have the best odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the draft wouldn't ever seem to be an option as long as Cuban is in charge. He essentially confirmed as much on Sunday, after being asked if tanking the current season might be the best way to go given his team's 3-13 start.
“Haters gonna hate. We think that you always compete,” Cuban said, via ESPN. “If you're competing when the league is better, like it is this year, if you don't do well, you'll be in a position to get a good pick. Which, remember, even if you have the worst record in the NBA, there's a 75 percent chance you're not going to get the top pick. … That's not good odds. You'll get a top-three pick … but there's no good reason to tank unless you think that there's three difference-makers. Not just All-Stars, but difference-makers.
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There's an additional reason that tanking is a bad idea, and it's the one that ultimately got Sam Hinkie and his Process run out of town in Philadelphia: It creates an environment where losing is acceptable.
“There are so many teams that became four years away from four years away because guys just learned how to lose,” Cuban said. “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.
“The only way you overcome that is to have the ultimate superstar carry you through, and it's tough to draft the ultimate superstar. I don't see any Shaqs or LeBrons or Tim Duncans in this draft, so I don't think that's the right way to do it. You just ignore the haters, let them [complain], and go about your business.”