If you’re a Dallas Mavericks fan, 2011 seems like a lifetime ago. It’s almost impossible to believe that we are just two years removed from the Mavs’ incredible run towards the NBA title. Yet here we are, two seasons later, and everything has changed since they captured their first championship crown.
Now, the Mavericks are an embarrassing eight games below .500 are are currently sitting in the No. 11 spot in the Western Conference, five games out of eighth place and a postseason bid. However, at this point, missing the playoff this year is the best thing that could happen for the Mavs.
Even if the Mavericks found a way to sneak into the playoffs this year (and that is a huge “if” ) what good would it do? Chances are better than not that it would simply be a repeat of last year’s postseason performance in which the Oklahoma City Thunder swept Dallas in the first round.
Simply put, the Mavericks need to cut their losses this year and look ahead toward the future. It may be difficult to admit, but it’s time the Mavericks begin their long, painful journey on the road to rebuilding a competitive team.
But how do they get there?
They could try and make a trade, but there isn’t really anyone available that’s worth the risk. Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban has stated that his team will pursue a trade by the Feb. 21 deadline, but (not to argue with a billionaire) that isn’t the route they should go.
They could hold out until the end of the season and try to bring in a big name free agent, but let’s face it, that possibility looks highly unlikely.
The best thing for the Mavericks now is simply to ride it out this season and play your luck in this year’s NBA lottery. If held today, they would have a top 10 pick–something they haven’t had in 13 years–with a chance of obtaining one of the top three spots. It will be hard, but it’s time to rebuild this team around a young, rising star.
Though a lottery pick won’t guarantee a bright future for the Mavs, it’s certainly a good place to start.
So while it may be difficult for fans to stomach, this terrible season could very well end up as a blessing in disguise. Unfortunately you have to be torn down in order to rebuild, and that’s exactly what’s happening in Dallas. It’s just going to take a bit of patience.