Mavs proprietor Mark Cuban has been making the radio rounds lately, as the season has approached the All-Star break. Yesterday he appeared on The Ben & Skin Show on 105.3 FM The Fan for a full hour to talk about the state of the Mavericks and, more importantly, why the team has no plans to tank at this point in the 2016-17 campaign.
Click to listen to the full audio, including some transcribed highlights below.
On how the team’s youth might affect the team-building strategy moving forward: “If you look at the minute distribution by age, we’re trending south, and that’s exactly the way we want it. It’s going to impact our strategy for the summer. I don’t see us going after the big fish this summer, because I think everything’s changing. It’s just too much money to stay with your incumbent team. Unless something falls in our lap — we’re always opportunistic — I’d much rather be a team that has a ton of cap room into the season to take players off of peoples’ hands. If I’m below the salary floor, then we just pay that money to our existing players, and it means everybody on the roster gets more.”
On why the eighth seed is better than tanking for a high draft pick: “The reward for winning is that all of our young guys get great experience, and they play in games that matter. (The Boston) game mattered to us, because we wanted to try to strive toward something, so you felt the pressure toward the end of the game. If you don’t care if you win, there’s never that pressure. And learning who can play and execute under pressure — like when we were beating Cleveland, when we were beating Portland, when we were winning these close games, when we were beating the Spurs — those were meaningful games to our young guys. If you never think you have a chance to win, you never feel that pressure. It’s easy just to shoot when there’s nothing at stake. It’s easy to play when there’s nothing at stake, where when the other team thinks ‘we can just turn it on at the end.’ You can’t do that with this anymore.
“Whether it’s Doe-Doe, or Yogi, or even Justin or Nico, all these guys are getting minutes at various times when it matters. If you just think ‘we’re trying to lose, we’ll just make it close,’ guys know it, and not only that, but they get upset, and they kind of turn off because if you’re tanking, somebody’s gonna lose their job. You’re tanking because one of you or most of you are not good enough, so one or most of you are not gonna keep your job.”
On the early-season injuries: “As much as the injuries were bad, the fact that we couldn’t get an identity, and we couldn’t get any type of unity on the court hurt us more than anything, because we didn’t know who we were. Dirk wasn’t there, Bogut wasn’t there, D-Will wasn’t there, and J.J. and Devin, so we tried to slow it down and that just didn’t work. Once we opened it up, we started getting better and better and better and better. Going into (Boston), I think over the last 15 games we were third-best offense and sixth-best defense over those 15 games. That’s incredible when you think about it.”
Cuban also added that player development coach God Shammgod will begin traveling with the team so Harrison Barnes and Nico Brussino, among other Mavs, can work with him on the road.
The Ben & Skin Show airs weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 105.3 The Fan.