Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: NBA play-in set up was ‘enormous mistake’
Zach Lowe of ESPN called Mavericks star Luka Doncic one of the NBA’s biggest whiners. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responded: “F*** you, Zach Lowe. You don’t know s***" (then showed how Doncic begs for calls “all the time"… like a European player).
Doncic later acknowledged he was complaining too much.
The takeaway: Cuban will back Doncic (and has issues with stereotyping).
So, when Doncic said he didn’t understand the NBA holding play-in tournamens this year, Cuban leaped to his star’s defense.
Cuban, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Cuban voted to approve the play-in tournaments. He’ll collect his share of the revenue they produce.
But he should also have room to learn more about the situation and change his thinking. He’s not hiding that he’s speaking with the benefit of hindsight.
But the play-in tournaments give more teams more reason to care about winning regular-season games.
The product is already suffering this year from games being postponed, players missing games due to coronavirus (contact tracing and cases) and fans not being in arenas. The play-in tournament is a counter that increases the significance of regular-season games.
No longer is finishing top eight in the conference enough to make the playoffs. Teams must finish in the top six to be assured of the playoffs. Plus, teams within reach of ninth and 10th are still fighting for something.
This system is bad for these Mavericks, though.
Dallas is seventh in the West. In previous years, finishing seventh would have gotten a team into the playoffs. This year, the seventh-place team in each conference must advance through the play-in.
The Mavericks have the NBA’s 10th-best record. So, a system that puts the top teams – regardless of conference – into the playoffs would benefit Dallas.
But I fail to see how Cuban’s other plans would significantly reduce the overall stress on players. Teams would still be competing for the postseason with a distinctions between immediate playoff qualifiers, teams that must go through the play-in tournament and teams that don’t reach even the play-in.
His systems would just be easier on the Mavericks.