By Trae Williams
After a disappointing end to the 2022-2023 NBA season for the Dallas Mavericks, finishing three wins away from the NBA Finals last season, this season, they took a massive plunge in production, finishing 38-44.
Yes, the Mavericks failed to make the play-in tournament — they were the 11th seed. The Mavs’ final two losses sealed their tenth-worst record, but it doesn’t mean they will keep their draft selection. They will lose their pick to New York if the Maverick’s pick falls out of the top 10.
Given Dallas’ predicament, it will be a stressful evening. They have a 3 percent chance of winning the lottery and being selected first overall and a 79.8 percent chance of remaining in the top 10. The Mavericks will still send their draft pick to New York in one out of every five scenarios, meaning their tanking could have been more useful.
The fact that the franchise doesn’t want to lose Luka Doncic adds more pressure to the situation because if it does happen, there will be repercussions for the Mavericks organization and the entire city. After a disappointing season in Dallas, there are rumors about his future, and the organization has to improve the team to accommodate him. However, the draft lottery might alter this outlook.
A top-ten pick in the draft is the franchise’s greatest asset. They may use it to choose a blossoming young talent who could become a star or exchange it for an experienced player who can help them turn things around.
The Mavericks are more competitive than they appear against the top Western Conference squads. Dallas’ last opponents were disinterested in the games; therefore, they could have easily won their final two contests.
If so, they would have 40–42.
Consider that the Mavericks added Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline to help out Luka Doncic, but the roster still underachieved. The Mavericks went 6-15 in crucial games following February 8. For comparison, Dallas would have ended the year in a tie for fifth place with the Warriors and Clippers if they had finished 10-11.
Dallas will need to acquire the necessary assets to increase rebounding, rim protection, and defense this summer. Even if the options are few, things will improve if they can add a top-ten pick to the mix.
The draft lottery will begin on May 16 at 7:30 p.m. central time.