Six months ago nobody expected the Dallas Mavericks to make the playoffs. They were a team in decline, the 4th oldest by age in the league, and led by an aging 38-year-old superstar surrounded mostly by young, inexperienced talent forming an almost perfect mold of teams that don’t make the playoffs.
Then the season started.
Five months later, after losing their second best player, Chandler Parsons, the Mavs clinched the 6th seed, two spots above the cutoff and up to 9 spots above where many critics had them finishing the season.
Nearly every analyst counted them out. SB Nation analysts predicted the Mavericks to be either dead last or close enough. CBS Sports had them out of the playoff picture as well, predicting them to win only 30 or so games for the season. ESPN also had the Mavs finishing low and out of the playoffs. Once the season started, they were forgotten. Just another team that made the rest look good. Basketball fans focused on Golden State or Cleveland, watching Kobe on his final tour and Steph setting records. The Mavs were just another low-level team with an aging superstar that wasn’t Kobe.
The Mavericks were eliminated in Round 1 with only one win, though almost two. Despite the Round 1 exit, one rule is clear: You have to respect the journey to respect the game.
There’s no secret to success, no need for a grandiose plan, and no shortcuts. Off of the court, nobody saw the thousands of shots the Mavericks made in practice both before and during the season. The individual workout regiments by each player don’t matter, nor do the many thousands of hours each player, coach, and trainer as put into their craft. According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours to become great at something. Whether or not that is true for you, your business, or your brand is irrelevant. All that matters is, are you chasing mastery? Or are you just chasing projections?