The Dallas Mavericks appeared to be on the fast track to success, as evidenced by their run to the 2022 Western Conference Finals that eventually ended in a five-game series defeat to the Golden State Warriors. With Luka Doncic in town, there was no reason to expect the Mavs to fall off a cliff anytime soon. But as the 2022-23 iteration of the Mavs have shown, there are no guarantees in the NBA, and failing to plan for the future can bring forth some unexpectedly harsh realities.

With two games remaining in their season, the Mavs will need to finish with a better record than the Oklahoma City Thunder just to make the play-in tournament by the skin of their teeth — a huge disappointment given their huge move for Kyrie Irving this past February.

While there's plenty of blame to go around for such a disaster, team owner Mark Cuban doesn't want to point fingers at others, instead choosing to take responsibility for the Mavs' steep drop-off.

“I don’t think it’s J-Kidd’s problem that we didn’t have an identity. The game changed in ways we didn’t expect it to change, so I blew it. It was on me, personally, because the game changed in terms of the take fouls and the speed of the game and where you need to be defensively,” Cuban said in a spontaneous media availability session, per Tim Cato of The Athletic.

“We just didn’t make the right changes that we need to. That we (thought we) would be fine defensively, and we weren’t fine defensively. And that’s where I made a mistake.”

It might just be Mark Cuban's way of deflecting blame from other members of the Mavs front office. This kind of collapse, after all, cannot fall on the shoulders of just one man. But at the very least, there's truth to what he's saying. A few poor decisions, such as letting Jalen Brunson walk, failing to add defensive-minded players or mobile defensive big men, and trading away their best point-of-attack defender in Dorian Finney Smith have all come back to haunt them one way or another.

It's not too late for the Mavs to rise from this low point. But something's got to change in their roster-building philosophy sooner than later, and it all starts from the top.