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The 5 Most Overrated Dallas Mavericks of All Time

Ethan GrantAnalyst IOctober 10, 2012

The 5 Most Overrated Dallas Mavericks of All Time

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    The Dallas Mavericks have only been around for 32 seasons, but there's been plenty of talent to rival any franchise in the league. There's also been enough duds to justify a look back at just what this franchise was thinking by giving them a uniform and a number.

    From centers to point guards, this team has had its share of All Stars and All-NBA talent. Most of those awards belong to Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, but some under-the-radar talent like Josh Howard and Jason Terry can't be ignored.

    From the 1980 season to 2012, there's been plenty of groups that have included guys who never lived up to their potential, were overvalued in trades or were just plain bad in blue and green.

    The top five of that group is a collective assortment of high draft picks, award winners and players who wished they had their time in Big D back.

Honorable Mention: Tariq Abdul-Wahad

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    Is there a weirder story in Dallas Mavericks history that that of this man? After four solid seasons in Sacramento, Orlando and Denver, Abdul-Wahad arrived in Dallas as a part of the deal that also netted Raef LaFrentz and Nick Van Exel.

    Frankly, the reason he finds himself on this list ahead of those two men is due to the amount of time he spent on the roster. Despite only playing in 26 career games in Dallas over four seasons (including eight playoff appearances), Abdul-Wahad cost the team nearly $24 million over five seasons.

    Simply put, he was an utter disappointment, whether or not he was meant to contribute as a part of that trade or not. He was on injured reserve from the beginning of 2003 until training camp 2005, when he was waived prior to the regular season.

    Mark him down as a wasted roster spot during a time when that position could have been inhabited by a player that might have helped put the team over the top during repeated postseason losses to Sacramento and San Antonio.

5. Josh Howard

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    There's no doubt Howard was a value draft pick at the end of the first round in 2003, but over his time in Dallas, he's associated with more the trouble that seemed to follow him at the tail end of the 2000s than he is for being as consistent as they come at small forward for the Mavericks.

    Howard was an All Star in Dallas, a member of the 2006-2007 squad that won 67 regular season games and collapsed against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.

    But he was also involved in drug suspicion, the national anthem debacle and was absolutely dismal during his final appearances in the postseason, before ultimately being traded to the Washington Wizards for Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood, all members of the 2011 title squad.

    While Howard was a great player in Dallas (his stability on the wing made Michael Finley expendable), he was also a problem, and his game was built around isolation jump shots, which didn't fare well with Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki—similar-type players.

    The low came during the '08 playoffs, when he shot 29 percent from the floor in a first-round loss to the New Orleans Hornets. He followed that up with a 25 percent showing from the three-point line in 2009 when Dallas fell to Denver in the second round.

    It's no coincidence that ridding themselves of Howard and adding a team-first guy like Caron Butler helped changed the fortunes of the Dallas Mavericks. Remember him as a great player if you must, but credit him with new faces before you do that first 2006 Finals appearance.

4. Robert Pack

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    Pack arrived in the same trade that netted the team Shawn Bradley, and he was thought to be an above-average point guard and floor general after some solid seasons in New Jersey and for the then-Washington Bullets.

    But injuries and poor play highlighted his time in Dallas, as Erick Strickland and Steve Nash handled most of the guard duties with Pack always on the shelf.

    A career 42.5 percent shooter, Pack dipped all the way down to 33.7 in 1997, playing in only 12 games before giving way to injuries that chronicled his time in Dallas.

    The next season, 1998-99, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki arrived in Dallas. He played two more injury plagued seasons with the two young stars-in-waiting before being traded away to the Boston Celtics. Pack's time in Dallas is most definitely marked with a "What if?" mentality, and Mavs fans will be more thankful he gave more time to Nash than anything else.

3. Antoine Walker

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    Heralded as the perfect point-forward for Don Nelson's up-tempo system, Walker arrived in 2003 with a starting job that moved Dirk Nowitzki to the center position.

    Although the Mavericks were playoff contenders and Walker raked in the stats, a closer look will tell he was involved in well more negative categories than positive ones by the time he was shipped to the Atlanta Hawks for some guy named Jason Terry.

    His role as a ball-handler in the offense forced Steve Nash into a different role, and it might have played a role in the future MVP's decision to depart for Phoenix (we'll never know).

    Walker was a part of the 30-point collapse in Los Angeles to open the season in the terrible P. Diddy grey uniforms. The lowlight of the season, though, was a 36 percent shooting effort in the first round series loss to Sacramento, when he went 1-of-10 from the three-point line.

    Walker stuck it to his old team in the 2006 Finals, however, as a member of the Miami Heat. That alone should be enough to completely write off anything he did in Dallas as positive. 

2. Adrian Dantley

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    Dallas sent Mark Aguirre to the Detroit "Bad Boy" Pistons midway through the 1988-89 season. Aguirre, one of the greatest players in Mavericks history, was the perennial leading scorer for Dallas before making the transition to the Pistons and helping them to the first of two consecutive titles. 

    That had to be a kick in the stomach for Dallas. After assembling a solid lineup that featured Aguirre, Brad Davis, Rolando Blackman, Derek Harper, Sam Perkins, Detlef Schrempf, Roy Tarpley and James Donaldson, the Mavericks figured to win multiple titles in the late 1980s.

    But it was not to be, as the Seattle Supersonics and L.A. Lakers dominated matchups with Dallas and kept this team from their true potential. Dallas decided to start blowing it up, and it started with this deal that got them Dantley and a first-round pick for Aguirre.

    All Dantley did was score 20 points during his first half-season in Dallas, but the team missed the playoffs. He was then waived in April 1990, just days before the postseason began. Dallas would go on to be swept by the Portland Trail Blazers that season.

    In many ways, this trade changed the fortune of the franchise. Perkins and Schrempf were both gone within two years. The first round pick was turned into Fat Lever, one of the most disappointing performers in franchise history.

    Dantley spent another meaningless season in Milwaukee before retiring from the game in 1991. He never produced anything close to his career averages of 24.3 points on 54 percent shooting as a Maverick, and every time Dallas faithful hear his name or see the two championship banners in Detroit, they have to cringe.

1. Shawn Bradley

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    The 7'6" center from BYU was a starter at the center position for nearly a decade, and his time in Dallas was remembered mostly for his ability to block shots (16th in NBA history).

    But behind the curtain, Bradley didn't do much for this team. One of the NBA's classiest gentlemen, you can't argue that he loved Dallas and spent time in the community giving his time to help restore the image of the game.

    Aside from those contributions, though, can we really point to any career accomplishments that would warrant his inclusion in any sort of "Best of" list?

    The answer, unfortunately, is no, and the play that will stick out in my mind is the Tracy McGrady dunk during the 2004 playoffs, as provided in the opening slide. With career averages of 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds, you would have to assert that someone 7'6" should be able to compliment Dirk Nowitzki as a basket protector.

    But Bradley, who never lived up to his potential as the No. 2 pick in the 1993 draft, was arguably kept around so long to contend with the Houston Rockets' new toy, Yao Ming. He shouldn't have been around for the golden years of the early 2000s, and no matter his contributions to the community, he wasn't the basketball player advertised when he arrived in 1997.

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