Welp, 2-6 is rough. Mark 11/12/2016 on the calendar as the first public deviation from my 2012 proclamation that these Dallas Mavericks bought a solid 10 years unapologetic homer-ism with no real expectation for results. I am an eternal optimist, but even I’m having to squint real hard to see this thing’s best case scenario vs. the product that is being put out on the court.
I was having a very superficial basketball conversation with a guy I just met, and my son (6) was listening in. He (my son) piped up, “Except for Dirk Nowitzki, are all the other guys on the Mavericks new every year?”
I looked at the guy I was talking to and answered my son’s question with a question of my own, “It sure seems like that, right?”
My son looked at me and said, “That doesn’t really seem like a good idea.”
I literally just shrugged and said, “I agree.”
There was a little awkward laughter from me and the guy I was talking to. We moved on to John Stockton and Karl Malone talk, as he’s from Utah. But, honestly my son’s comment really stuck in my crawl. A six year old could see that the Mavericks were stuck in an crap cycle of mediocrity.
At what point does common sense override loyalty? For me, and for the team? The team is too deep into this approach of re-tooling around Dirk for the past 5 years to abandon it now, but I’m a fan and as that am entitled to be finicky. I’m sure if I graphed the number of games played against the number of games I’ve watched it has dropped pretty precipitously from 2007 onward. That’s when I met my then girlfriend, now wife, got married, got a job, had children, and when my time and interests began to widen beyond myself and beyond sports. Not to get too off topic, but I think it also hasn’t helped that save for one season this team has been a shit show and has gotten out of the first round only twice since 2007. In short it has turned into everything Mark Cuban said he hates. He said mediocrity in the NBA is a death sentence and he’d rather tank if he isn’t going to be elite.
I blame it on Mark Cuban’s ego. I fear that there isn’t a room he’s stepped in, in over 20 years (if not longer), where he hasn’t thought of himself as the smartest man in the room. Being ‘smart’ has led him to cut ties too early with “Pre All-World” Steve Nash, and again he did it with “Just Past His Prime But Still Damn Good” Tyson Chandler.
If you were going to bow a knee to Dirk’s every whim then why wouldn’t you keep the best big man Dirk has ever played with? A man, he (Dirk), openly talked about as the catalyst for the best season in franchise history. He LOVED playing with TC and I guarantee he laments that loss more than any other teammate. Even more than Fin, JET, or Nash himself. He suffered through the likes of: Erick Dampier, Raef LaFrentz, Shawn Bradley, DeSagana Diop, Brendan Haywood, Juwan Howard, and spare after spare after spare.
If “Cubes” was all about placating the big German, why not give him the gift of the big man? Oh, because Cuban bet big that he could sign Dwight Howard….. “A swing and a whiff.”
There is this sinking feeling in my heart that Mark Cuban is slowly morphing into Jerry Jones. Don’t get me wrong I love Mark Cuban, and Jerry Jones for that matter, but he sure does get a pass on a lot of the same things that JJ gets grilled for.
- Mark Cuban IS the GM of the Mavs. I know Donnie Nelson has the title, has some say, does some scouting or makes some calls, and knows the cap, but Mark Cuban makes the decision. This is marginally different from the Cowboys head man.
- Cuban is beginning to spread himself thin with all of the perks of being famous. He appears on Shark Tank, He made himself a part of this years election cycle, he’s building/built a new practice facility in the shell of an old brewery. I know Shark Tank is taped over a couple weeks, but it’s the deals he strikes that add to his plate diverting his attention from my main interest: The Mavericks. I have no issue when Cuban qua “Owner” does this, what I do have issue with is Cuban qua “GM” doing anything other than basketball. You think Jon Daniels gives two shits about other business interests? No, which is why the Texas Rangers are badass!
- Cuban is beginning to think about legacy moves as opposed to the day to day of making this the best possible basketball franchise. That practice facility he just built also comes with 14 acres of land to develop just outside of Downtown Dallas. He wants his own shrine to himself, and hey I honestly don’t begrudge him that personally but again I want my GM breathing, eating, and sleeping basketball.
I’m a fan, and always will be, but I also want more than they are currently giving me. My only leverage is to not watch their games which is easy enough to do from 1500 miles away, but it seems that other people are beginning to ignore the Mavs too, and this caused a monster hissy fit from Cuban that ended in longtime national beat writers having their credentials revoked from the American Airlines Center.
Is it already too late for him to course correct? Does he even know he should? If he did, would he even want too?
Like the slogan from 2011 said, “The Time is Now”. Not time to win a championship, but time to get on about the business of being the best. I would love nothing more than for my son to be a Mavs fan, and I’m doing my best to pass that along. But you know what little kids like? Winners. That’s why I was a mid 90’s Cowboys fan, it doesn’t explain why I still subject myself to the up and down nature of the franchise. That’s why I was a Braves fan, because before baseball was on every channel all the time it was on TBS and WGN. I’d love to make a sad sack Chicago Cubs reference, but damn they’re good. But to my point, the Braves were good, so I chose them over the loveable losers/not so loveable winners.
C’mon Cubes, Make The Mavericks Great Again!