Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t think the NBA’s draft lottery system works as well as it should.
“It obviously creates some misincentives toward the end of the season for teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs but until you come up with a better solution, that’s what we’ve got,” Cuban told The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday.
The league’s current system rewards teams with poor records and Cuban fully admitted his team, which finished 11th in the Western Conference, went into tank mode this year.
“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban told The Dan Patrick Show Wednesday.
When asked to clarify how his team went about tanking, Cuban responded: “You play all your young players.”
“Once a guy walks on the court, they’re going to play their heart out,” he explained. “Particularly the young guys because they have something to prove…There’s nothing you could say or do to them to say ‘don’t play hard or ‘try to lose this game.’ That wouldn’t be right and I don’t think any NBA team would ever do that.”
Ironically, Cuban’s remarks about the lottery come one day after the Boston Celtics—currently in the Eastern Conference Finals—won the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery via a pick they acquired from the Nets years ago.
Back in November, Cuban dismissed the notion that his team was intentionally tanking.
“We have so many young guys on this team, we want the games to mean something,” he told ESPN at the time. “Not to be, ‘OK, who are we going to pull in the fourth quarter so we can lose this game?’ That’s not how teams develop good habits…I don’t see any Shaqs or LeBrons or Tim Duncans in this draft, so I don’t think [tanking is] the right way to [rebuild]. You just ignore the haters, let them bitch, and go about your business.”