If the Mavericks played in the Atlantic Division, they could seriously challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins.
It’s not necessarily that the Mavs are that good, it’s that the Atlantic is that bad.
Dallas proved that even further this weekend when, in the second game of a road back-to-back where they beat the Atlantic-leading Toronto Raptors in the first end, and with Dirk Nowitzki sitting out that second game, they were still able to beat the winless Philadelphia 76ers with relative ease.
That’s the same Philadelphia team that, just weeks earlier, was on the receiving end of the largest margin of victory in Mavericks history.
It’s a Philadelphia team that some are already wondering if they might be so bad that the University of Kentucky Wildcats might beat them. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I would definitely give the Texas Legends a fighting chance against them.
There is little doubt Philadelphia is the new poster child for “Team Tank.” They have no direction, no coaching whatsoever and are only interested in the next set of ping pong balls that will be falling in the spring to land them another high draft pick. In other words, they should be Mister Slow Jeff Cavanaugh’s favorite team.
It’s the team he and his fellow G-Baggers were saying the Mavericks should have become two years ago. Yeah, the Mavs could have been the Sixers if Mark Cuban had listened to certain people in the media. He didn’t and thus we have a team in Dallas that looks a LOT better.
I recently came across a Facebook thread on the Sixers’ current state of affairs, and the comments on them were a sight to behold:
“SAM HINKIE should be fired for putting this terrible of team together. Thx for making us the laughing stock of the nba. Losing like this is not how you build a team. All its gonna breed is a culture of players that don’t care as long as they getting paid.”
“Don’t go to the games. I don’t care what the Sixers offer, its not worth it. Show the ownership the TRUE disappointment of fans in this city. Its a complete disgrace. WE are nor a city of tanking.. Lets all go to our blue collar jobs and tank them daily.. How long do we remain employed ? Hey Sam Hinkie.. Lets play balls out each and every game like us Damn fans go to work each and every day busting our asses just to put a roof over our families.”
“It’s becoming a disgrace what the management are doing to this team . An embarrassment to the City, their fans, and foremost, the organization. From nearly going to the Eastern Conference finals over 2 years ago to becoming the mockery of the Association and the laughing stock of all sports. Very extremely displeased and embarrassed for all us SIXERS Fans”
“Larry Brown’s SMU team has one win already!!!!8-)”
Look upon these, people. These are the types of comments that could have been posted about the Mavs had they heeded the G-Bag Nation’s advice.
The Sixers have become an organization out of a bad sports movie. As that first commenter points out, there is no effort to win because there is no desire from anyone in the entire office. That is a toxic culture that you cant just turn around once you have enough blue-chip lottery picks on your roster.
And what is this all for again? The chance to pick yet another wet-behind-the-ears college freshman who may have all the tools in the world but not the maturity to use them to the full potential, leading to being yet another bust. And even if they grab a few good players with these picks, guess what? No way they sign long-term with such an apathetic organization, and the team will be back to square one in another three years.
Dallas chose a different path. Rather than stockpile draft picks, they continued to make trades for players that could start contributing immediately while waiting for the right free agent. They didn’t land Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, and that may have been for the best anyway. What it has done is land them Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons to replace the holes left by Jason Terry and Shawn Marion while bringing back Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea. Suddenly this team looks a lot more similar to 2011 than some may want to admit?
Is that too bold of a prediction? Is this really a team that can be a serious contender in the Western Conference? It’s too soon to tell. They definitely have issues to work out, particularly with defending the three-pointer. People like Chandler Parsons are still working their way into the system.
But there is still a better chance that Dallas can fight its way through the West gauntlet and reach the Finals this year than there is of Philadelphia even getting into the playoffs in the pathetic East with the next five or even 10 years.
There are going to be some very long, hard basketball seasons for years to come in the city of brotherly love thanks to the direction that franchise is taking. And Dallas should be grateful the Mavericks did not decide to go that path.