the Mark Cuban who drives NBA executives a little batty. In an item posted on
larrybrownsports.com, Cuban is quoted in an interview with Fox Sports Radio
saying that he would tank games in order to improve his team's position in the
lottery. Cuban was being interviewed by Michael Irvin and said: "I'd be
the first to admit Michael, I would tank a lot of games."
Irvin responded by saying: "You would tank games? Mark wait. You would tank games to get the first pick in the draft?"
And Cuban replied: "Yes, see, it depends on where you are."
This is the sort of statement that irritates people like NBA commissioner David Stern, but it's difficult to take Cuban seriously.
First of all, his team is so far from the lottery that it's a joke to even talk about such a prospect. Second, the term "tanking" is a little overblown. That word suggests the players are missing shots on purpose, but the way that NBA teams have historically tried to improve their lottery position is simply by playing younger players or reserves while resting front line players. It's actually no different than what the Rangers are doing right now after trading some of their best players, which, in effect, tanks the rest of the season.
Cuban has written on his blog in the past on ways that the NBA could improve the lottery and stop teams -- like Boston last season -- from manipulating lineups. One suggestion is a good one. Cuban blogged that of the worst team in each conference, the one with the better record got the No. 1 pick. So having the worst record would not ensure a team of getting the No. 1 pick, which means at the end of the season, a team could hurt itself by losing and that would make everyone simply play it straight. For Cuban's entire entertaining suggestion, check out:
As you will see, Cuban has some other good ideas on changing the lottery, but probably the only way the NBA will listen to him is if he makes strong statements on doing exactly what lottery teams have been doing for more than two decades.
-- Jan Hubbard