Are NBA games rigged? Check the Shark-**TANK**
The Dallas Mavericks are SO bad this season, it sure seems like it's on purpose. Oh right, it IS on purpose or Cuban wouldn't have been fined $600,000 for his tanking plan this season. Funny... the circle of life... we can think of no bigger loudmouth critic of the Hinkie years than Cuban. Sure sure, later after Hinkie was fired Cuban SAYS he liked Hinkie, but that was only after the Sixers youngsters started working last January. We remember Cuban mercilessly having his starters in there trying to beat the 2015 (or 2014?) Sixers by 50 points. There was just no bigger criticizer of tanking than Cuban-- so it doesn't surprise us at all, given his flip-flopping business history, that he's now a big fan of tanking, and he is. But there was difference perhaps, between what Hinkie did and what Cuban's doing. Hinkie was actually trying to find and play good players; he just simply WON trades by giving up good players for better value. Was Hinkie tanking when he gave all those minutes to Hollis Thompson and JaKarr Sampson and Robert Covington and TJ McConnell? Or was he trying to find great players from the rubbish pile? We don't think Cuban is quite so "religious"; we think he's just straight up TRYING as hard as he can to increase his draft odds this season. We think Mark would LOVE to slip past the Magic and the equally pathetic (but due to injury to Mike Conley) Memphis Grizzlies in the tankathon olympics. Even if he read this article, and was incensed at being called a shameless purposeless tanker, we think his team is SO bad right now they couldn't win even against the Jimmy Butler-less Minnesota T-wolves. This is why we recommend taking a punt on T-wolves MINUS 6 POINTS, and here are our reasons:
You'll want to viddy this pic before reading on, so we can skip writing about 1,000 words...
#1 Minutes Madness
Cuban won't give Nerlens minutes even tho he's potentially the best center in the modern 3-pointer NBA. Nerlens can gaurd all 5 positions, and extremely well, has the PREPOSTEROUSLY RARE skill to grab steals from little people, and over the past few years has actually become an asset on offense bc he knows his role AND has been improving his shot diligently. Mavericks wanna win? Play Nerlens > 26 minutes a game. They. Won't. Allow. It.
Instead of playing the best players with even moderately respectable minutes, the Mavericks are now starting known entities like Aaron Harrison. Eh?? Dennis Smith Jr is young and raw and maybe he turns out to be a fantastic PG in the NBA, it's hard to tell when he's so young without having inside knowledge, so it makes sense to play him even tho he's losing games for Dallas. But Aaron Harrison? Come'on man! There's better players right on your roster earning splinters. Dallas dilutes what they have, simply by giving NO ONE starters minutes anymore, and is scrambling lineups daily in order to tank. One thing we've learned, even putting together the best talents in the NBA (see OKC in the 1st half of this season) doesn't work until all the players click and find their new niches within the overall team. But scrambling players who're hungry (a good thing) with each other is just a recipe for failure. The T-wolves are the exact opposite of this concept, Thibidaeou plays his starters so long he's routinely guilty of destroying their careers (eh hem, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler... and counting). Dallas can play hard, bc their PLAYERS aren't tanking, but they can't get cohesion unless the coach and GM and owner allow it-- and they aren't allowing it.
#2 Talent that Ain't
Harrison Barnes sure was popular a few years ago, coming out of one of the greatest organizations in sports (Did you see Quinn Cook's game last night?). But apparently outside of the confines of the Golden State, he's just another talented player who can't quite put together both sides of the ball and views himself as "the answer" which is the biggest mistake in the NBA unless you really ARE the answer (as in A.I. or LeBron or Kobe.... etc....). We're pretty certain even Dirk Nowitski is only OCCASIONALLY the answer (mostly before 2011, and in 2011 he had amazing playoff performance by Jasons Kidd & Terry, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler). Dirk is still good, but in an NBA that's faster, more spread out, and with him being mostly a perimeter big man, he's just not that good anymore. In other words, Dirk's talent and desire are still there, but the league is getting better and catching up while he's slowing down. We give the guy mad props, but he's best taking a backup role to Noel if Dallas actually wanted to win ballgames and playoff series.
We've already mentioned DSJ could be great someday, but right now is young and needs a LOT of work on his defensive game, reading offenses, helping, and figuring out how to be an asset overall. Right now he needs a lot of work to be effective. Add it all up, and Dallas just isn't good, period. Dallas HAS, however, shown some serious pluck against better-than-average opponents this season, which gives us some pause; but again, they are now officially tanking and their last REAL win came a full 3 weeks ago against Denver-- one of the worst coached teams in the NBA it seems, and a game where Millsap was still getting back his sea-legs after being injured most of the season. It was also a game Jokic played only 26 minutes and looked that game like he should be playing even less than that--> 0-4 from 3pt, 2-9 overall-- and Gary Harris was also shooting like turd, 5-13 and 1-5 3pt. Since then, no REAL wins. The last REAL win before that game was Indiana at home-- a game in which Oladipo only played 23 minutes in favor of a 3-10 & 0-4 3pt Lance Stephenson? Strange. Dallas' wins seem to come mostly by fluke, so there IS that factor in tonite's T-wolves game. BUT that brings us to #3...
#3 No Fa-Fa-Fa-Foolin' Around anymore
Play this while reading on...
As an old basketball coach once used to say "Stop the GRABASS!!!". Thibs can't afford to lose ANY games right now, or he'll find his ass missing the playoffs, getting potshots on Butler's injury, and possibly jobless. Minnesota is playing for blood right now, they're the team supposed to be doing what the 76ers are doing this season, they're SUPPOSED to be YEARS ahead of Philadelphia for on-the-rise young teams. Jimmy Butler is truly a loss of huge proportions for this team, but this is a team with KATowns, Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins and Taj Gibson. They were built to win NOW, and now win they must! Did we mention Dallas would REALLY like to lose their way to higher odds vs Orlando and Memphis?
What we might get wrong and cause a loss here:
A. Tighter game than you'd think
We suspect if winning by the most points possible awarded extra money to players, Minnesota probably wins this by 50 points even with Butler out. But realistically, Butler out is a MAJOR BLOW to the T-wolves and takes them from a playoff performer to a team who probably wouldn't make the playoffs in the West otherwise. It really just comes down to whether Dallas management implements the tank, as to how big of a loss this is. If Dallas played Nerlens for 30 minutes plus, and gave extra playing time to players who are good NOW (like Powell and McBuckets) instead of those who are bad (Barnes) or who are bad now (Smith Jr), then they'd have a better shot. But why would they do this?
We're saying Minnesota should win by 10 points, and the spread is 6. We like our odds better giving the points, than risking a "rigging" which is what giving 6 points to hapless Dallas looks like.
B. Weekend game = highly watched, highly bet
Everyone KNOWS Minnesota should easily win this game, and that Cuban is tanking. But on a WEEKEND, that scares us bc we think there's an outside chance of a rigging. Bc of that outside chance, we'll reduce our bet size, AND we'll bet the better odds of giving the spread rather than the "safer" moneyline. Our reasoning is: There's no such thing as "safe" if the house is rigged against you (learned that in a Blackjack book somewhere). So you might as well go for the better payoff and give those measly 6 points and take your lumps if Dallas coach lets Nerlens get all up in Towns' steaze (or creviced).
C. JJ Barea, Dennis Smith Jr, Dirk, Noel: "Any Given Sunday"
It's not like Dallas has NOBODY, and some guys they have are EXTREMELY talented. If one of these guys has a bezoinkers game, it makes giving 6 points vs expected 10 point favorite a tougher propostion. That's only 2 extra made buckets or blocked Towns shots.
Is the NBA rigged? We don't actually know, even tho we have STRONG suspicions we'll write about at a later date. But for now, all we can tell you is: If Minnesota loses this game, on a weekend, to a team who's owner is paying $600k to tank, then you gotta start thinking maybe it is. Honestly, if we were Mark Cuban, we'd lose every single game the rest of this season in exchange for that $600,000, you can bet your ASS on THAT.
We recommend betting 1.0% of AUM, or your standard smallest bet size, mostly bc this is a spread bet. Then, of course, we recommend crossing your fingers.