For 12 consecutive seasons the Dallas Mavericks have participated in the NBA Playoffs, and that’s where the streak will end.
The Mavericks followed a somewhat disappointing season last year with an even more tame effort during this campaign, with the highlight of their season being the unified shaving of their beards for getting back to a .500 record. It didn’t help that their franchise player Dirk Nowitzki, missed the first 27 games of the season with a knee injury but in the end they still weren’t good enough.
According to a story courtesy of Jeff Caplan of NBA.com, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has placed himself in front of the team and is willing absorb all the blame and criticism.
“Look, it didn’t work out the way we planned. It’s all on me and [president of basketball operations] Donnie [Nelson],” Cuban said prior to Friday night’s overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. “It’s our job to put people in position to succeed. We didn’t do enough of it. It’s not an apology. It’s just the nature of the beast. I bust my ass to do as best as we can. No one hates losing more than me, so I’ll keep on busting my ass and hopefully it will change.”
Cuban also conceded that the team is in rebuilding mode but still expects a quick turnaround.
“It’s not a four-year rebuild cycle,” Cuban said. “I guess when you miss the playoffs, by definition you’re rebuilding. So we’ve got to get better.”
The Mavericks owner also confessed that he didn’t give head coach Rick Carlisle much to work with this season, bringing in players like center Chris Kaman and power forward Elton Brand, who at this stage of their respective careers, are average at best.
“Look, we did the best we could,” Cuban said. “We obviously didn’t have what we thought we would have. We obviously should have had more. I don’t know if we could have, but we should have, and so it’s all on me. If that means I let Rick down, I let Rick down. People always give me (expletive) — why do you always put your email up on the screen and why are you always out front? This is why. So if someone’s got a shot to take, take it at me.”
I expect the Mavericks to be really aggressive in free agency or via trades this summer. Ever since Cuban bought the team, well over a decade ago, they have often been in the conversation as contenders in the incredibly tough Western Conference, so I don’t see their current malaise lasting very long.