“Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,” Cuban said on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday.
Cuban said the primary way to ensure the Mavericks would lose was to play their young players, including? Yogi Ferrell,? Nerlens Noel and Dorian Finney-Smith — three players with less than three years of experience who averaged more than 20 minutes per game for Dallas this season.
The Mavericks owner acknowledged that it wasn’t the players who were throwing games.
“Once a guy walks on the court, they’re going to play their heart out,” Cuban said. “Particularly the young guys because they have something to prove.”
Dallas started an injury-marred season 3-15 and never got closer than eight games below .500.
The Mavericks were officially eliminated from the playoffs April 1. They went 2-5 after that to finish 33-49 on the season.
They weren’t able to cash in on their 6.1 percent odds of landing a top-three pick through the lottery and will select ninth overall in next month’s draft.
Cuban didn’t give a ringing endorsement to the lottery system in his comments to Patrick.
“It works well enough, I guess,” Cuban said of the lottery. “It obviously creates some misincentives toward the end of the season for teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs. Until you come up with a better solution, that’s what we’ve got.”