Why Winning a Title Will Be The Worst Thing For The Mavericks

I sit here in my creaky dining room chair amazed.  I know I’ve only been alive for a score and four years, but I still can’t believe the Little Dallas Mavericks are about to tip-off in an NBA Finals game.  Let me clarify my amazement:  I was amazed by the Detroit Pistons two years ago because they came out of nowhere and beat better teams.  I was taken aback by the Lakers of 2000-2002 because they were toying with opponents.  And I was completely flabbergasted by Jordan’s Bulls because I really think other teams considered not showing up.  The Mavericks now rank somwhere between the Lakers and the Bulls, and here’s why.
Growing up, the Mavericks were the NBA equivalent of Lima Beans.  Lima beans are in the mixed vegetables but you wouldn’t realize if they left them out…they are completely irrelevant.  And so were the Mavericks.  Even two and three years ago, they weren’t really a top-tier team.  They were good, but nobody was delusional enough to root for them in public.  Last year’s heartbreaking loss to Steve "Benedict" Nash was the last game played in Maverick Irrelevance Land.  This entire year belonged to the Mavericks.  Through injuries, losing Michael Finley, Avery coaching his first full season, they were consistently a better team than anyone (yes, even my beloved Spurs).  How in the world have they moved from Obscurity to PrimeTime?
Dirk = Unbelievable.  Avery = Excellent Coach.  JET / Josh Howard = Consistent and Necessary.  But I don’t think any of these ingredients have led to the Mavericks’ success.  Good players have been in Dallas (Rolando Blackman, 2-time MVP Steve NashJason Kidd, Michael Finley, Jamal Mashburn…ok that may not count).  Dallas has also had good coaches.  What Dallas has never had, however, was a winning culture.  Like I said, they were irrelevant and they needed a spark to ignite some passion about that team.  I truly believe that Dallas is in the Finals because of Mark Cuban.  Which leads me to my conclusion that Dallas had better hope they lose this year.
In case you hadn’t heard, Mark Cuban is King Midas.  It is amazing how much this guy has accomplished (and yet he still dresses like a 6th grader).  Most notably he started MicroSolutions and sold it after it was huge, then he started Broadcast.com and then sold it to Yahoo! when it was huge.  Logic seems to say that Mark loves to undertake some enormous task, become the best at it, then move on.  If that really is the case, then he may not be the Mavericks owner for too much longer.  Barring injuries and crazy circumstances, the Mavericks could emerge as one of the best teams for the next 5 years.  And once his project is the best, Mark tends to look elsewhere.
Mark has never shot a basketball in an NBA game.  For all of his complaining about officials, the Mavericks still have things called against them.  But he has somehow made the Mavericks matter.  The AAC is the best arena I’ve ever been to.  The Mavs have tremendous players.  They are a well-coached and respected, albeit nouveu-riche, franchise.  This stuff doesn’t happen on it’s own: you need a catalyst.
Here’s hoping the Catalyst sticks around.



4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Rick Cassels said,

    ok…you forgot the following GREAT Mavs:
    Mark Aguirre
    Derek Harper
    Detlef Schrempf
    Dale Ellis
    Roy Tarpley (crackhead)
    Jim Jackson
    Antawn Jamison

    and then they were the following 1st round Mav failures:
    Kiki Vandeweghe (never played for the Mavs)
    Bill Garnett
    Bill Wennington
    Steve Alford
    JIm Farmer
    Etan Thomas
    Christian Laettner
    Randy White

    more later…halftimes over.

  2. 2

    how did i forget jim jackson? he was the crucial swingman of the triple-j-ranch.

  3. 3

    Rick Cassels said,

    From Page 2 at espn.com the 100 Worst Draft picks of all time…

    32. and 31. Bill Wennington and Uwe Blab, Dallas Mavericks (No. 16 and 17, 1985)
    The Mavs did take Detlef Schrempf at No. 8 in this draft but blew their other first-rounders on two 7-footers with questionable athletic ability (and that’s putting it nicely). The 18th pick? Joe Dumars. A.C. Green and Terry Porter also went later in the first round.

    You know, if the Mavs had played it right in the ’80s, they could have a dynasty — they already had two All-Stars in Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackmon from the 1981 draft, but they selected Wyoming stiff Bill Garnett with the fourth pick in ’82. In 1983, they drafted Dale Ellis and Derek Harper. While Harper became a star, they gave up on Ellis after three seasons as a reserve and traded him to Seattle, where he became an All-Star. In 1984, they took Sam Perkins one spot before Charles Barkley and Terence Stansbury one spot before John Stockton. They did take Schrempf in ’85, but traded him after a couple years to the Pacers, where he then blossomed.

    So, by the mid-’80s, they could have had a roster featuring Aguirre, Blackmon, Harper, Ellis, Barkley, Stockton, Schrempf, Dumars and A.C. Green.

    Of course, they would have lacked a 7-footer at center.

  4. 4

    Rick Cassels said,

    oops… i was wrong about Christian laetnner, it was Cherokee Parks which is worse…here isa rundown through the 2001 season of Mav drafts…

    Dallas Mavericks first round draft picks

    2001 — None
    2000 — Etan Thomas, Syracuse
    1999 — None
    1998 — Robert Traylor, Michigan
    1997 — Kelvin Cato, Iowa State
    1996 — Samaki Walker, Louisville
    1995 — Cherokee Parks, Duke
    Loren Meyer, Iowa State
    1994 — Jason Kidd, California
    Tony Dumas, Missouri-Kansas City
    1993 — Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky
    1992 — Jim Jackson, Ohio State
    1991 — Doug Smith, Missouri
    1990 — None
    1989 — Randy White, Louisiana Tech
    1988 — None
    1987 — Jim Farmer, Alabama
    1986 — Roy Tarpley, Michigan
    1985 — Detlef Schrempf, Washington
    Bill Wennington, St. John’s
    Uwe Blab, Indiana
    1984 — Sam Perkins, North Carolina
    Terence Stansbury, Temple
    1983 — Dale Ellis, Tennessee
    Derek Harper, Illinois
    1982 — Bill Garnett, Illinois
    1981 — Mark Aguirre, DePaul
    Rolando Blackman, Kansas State
    1980 — Kiki Vandeweghe, UCLA

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