Rick Carlisle; Eternally optimistic - yet brutally honest - head coach that's trying to focus on the bright spots of an unbelievably underwhelming year, or a disappointed fan that's trying to convince himself (or herself) that there's still a reason to keep watching until the completion of a hopeless season. It's pretty obviously the first one, but you can bet your ass that the entirety of the Mavericks' fanbase was just given the words that they have been desperately searching for to defend their team's futility.
"Shitty, yet underrated" might sound contradictory in theory, but it's an important distinction to make within a sports landscape that increasingly has trouble identifying teams and players as anything other than the best or the worst. The Mavericks stink worse than the most elderly of prolonged bathroom visits, but they have stunk their way to wins in four of their last five including victories over San Antonio and Cleveland. That's got to count for something, and when your record is 18-30 and you're staring up in the standings at New Orleans and Sacramento it counts for the temporary addition of the word "underrated" to your crappy team's season long narrative.
As someone who is a fan of multiple struggling teams with upside, it's nice to finally see a person with a championship pedigree and the respect of his peers put their stamp of overall on the concept of being simultaneously bad and disrespected. Even if it does have him recreating this scene at his next press conference...