Nerlens Noel thought he was done with tanking.
Noel helped the Sixers turn the corner last season. They went 10-5 in January and for a split-second were able to daydream about the playoffs.
Then on Feb. 23, Noel was dealt to Dallas. Five weeks later, when the Trail Blazers beat the Suns on April 1, the Mavericks were eliminated from the playoffs.
And then they tanked.
"Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games," owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday on The Dan Patrick Show.
The Mavs actually won their next game before losing five in a row and ending their season with a victory over Memphis.
How exactly did they tank?
"You play all your young players," Cuban said.
That's it though. There wasn't a memo, as Patrick asked, that went out to everyone.
"No no," Cuban said. "Once a guy walks on the court, they're going to play their heart out. Particularly the young guys, because they have something to prove."
The Mavericks finished with the ninth-worst record (33-49) in the league and didn't move in Tuesday night's lottery. They were represented by former swingman and current executive Michael Finley.
Cuban did not attend, and don't expect to see him at the lottery anytime soon.
"Yeah, (I went) one time, and I said I'd never do it again," he said. "Honestly, my thoughts were, this is the losers circle, and I never wanted to be back. We didn't hit the lottery again for 15 years."
Does the lottery system work?
"Not as well as it should," he said. "There aren't a whole lot of alternatives. ... Until you come up with a better solution, that's what we got."