The saying goes, “when you make your bed, you have to lie in it.”
In a recent story by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, he detailed the Dallas Mavericks’ recent objections to the idea of playing in a play-in game. The only problem is they are the only ones who seem upset by the new standard.
Mark Cuban’s comments:
“I get why the NBA is doing it,” Mark Cuban said to ESPN in MacMahon’s story. “But if we are going to be creative because of COVID, we should go straight up 1-20 and let the bottom 4 play in. This is the year particularly to do it since the 10 games cut [from the normal 82-game schedule] were in conference.
“The worst part of this approach is that it doubles the stress of the compressed schedule. Rather than playing for a playoff spot and being able to rest players as the standings become clearer, teams have to approach every game as a playoff game to either get into or stay in the top 6 since the consequences, as Luka said, are enormous. So players are playing more games and more minutes in fewer days.”
Examining the argument:
Cuban makes a valid argument as to why he currently objects to the play-in tournament. This season’s schedule is grueling. However, he is part of the board of governors, who unanimously approved the change in the NBA schedule.
It’s hard to objectively validate a complaint when the person upset at the rule change played a part in its genesis. And in fact, it’s easy to dismiss Cuban’s comments as one-off complaints due to the Mavericks’ current seventh seed in the Western Conference standings.
What also increases the difficulty in validating Cuban’s argument is this: every team coming into the 2020-21 season understood the parameters. The players on those teams may not have enjoyed the idea of a play-in tournament, but it was approved anyway. The tournament’s existence is no surprise to anyone. The only thing that changed was the Mavericks’ disappointing seventh seed position, coupled with back-to-back disappointing losses.
This complaint shouldn’t be about the play-in tournament. It should be about the disappointing season Dallas has experienced.
Yes, some elements were out of Dallas’ control – injuries and a COVID-19 outbreak. However, those don’t completely account for the lack of offensive creation outside of Luka Doncic. Nor do they account for inconsistent defensive efforts and an uncertain front-court rotation without Kristaps Porzingis. The excuses don’t always line up with the reality of the Mavericks’ situation. They underperformed, and now they have to live with it.
You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.
Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.