Mavs Greatest Point Guards Ever
Only one Mavericks point guard has started for an NBA championship team in Dallas. Only one Mavs point guard has won an NBA MVP trophy (actually two for another team). And only one Mavs point guard has had his number retired in Big D.
Yet, the all-time greatest Mavs point guard holds none of those distinctions at this point. That situation could change soon as you will see when you look over the seven greatest Mavs point guards in franchise history.
7. Nick Van Exel Excelled at Both Guard Spots
Nick Van Exel's spectacular clutch shooting helped lead the Mavs to the 2003 Western Conference Finals. "Nick The Quick" averaged 19.5 points during the 20-game playoff run, and many of his minutes were at point guard behind Steve Nash.
Van Exel only played a season and a half in Dallas as the sixth man, but he was better at the point guard slot than Jason Terry.
6. Darren Collison Cracks the List at Lightning Speed
Dallas fleeced Indiana by acquiring Darren Collison, and he has made a meteoric rise onto this list. It took only one week as the Mavs starting point guard for Collison to vault past Van Exel, Terry, a washed-up Fat Lever and JJ Barea.
"Ludicrous," you say? Perhaps, but the Mavs really haven't had many floor leaders due to the longevity of the four best point guards in franchise history.
In fact, the lightning quick Collison is poised to move into fifth place soon if he comes even close to maintaining his averages thus far: 16.5 PPG on 61.4% FG and 8.5 assists per game.
5. Devin Harris Still in Top Five by Default
Devin Harris was good enough to start most of the 2005-06 season, and the Mavs made their first appearance in the NBA Finals. He was also good enough to get Jason Kidd back to Dallas in a blockbuster trade that helped the Mavs win their first NBA championship.
That being said, Harris was too inconsistent to rank higher than 5th on the Mavs all-time point guard list.
4. Brad Davis Was the First Maverick to Have His Jersey (no. 15) Retired
Brad Davis was the Mavericks' first legitimate player and a solid NBA point guard. The fan favorite had his jersey retired despite losing his starting job soon after Derek Harper's arrival in Dallas. To this day, the only Mavericks with their numbers in the rafters are Davis' No. 15 and Ro Blackman's No. 22.
We all know Dirk's No. 41 will be retired as well, but there is still at least one more Mavs point guard who also has a very compelling case—read on.
3. Steve Nash Started Slow in Dallas Before Gaining All-Star Status
After his 1998 arrival in Dallas, Steve Nash struggled so badly for two seasons that he was actually roundly booed by Mavs fans. Meanwhile, the Rockets' Charles Barkley told me personally that Nash was still not only going to be good, but great.
Indeed, Nash's greatness began with All-Star appearances in 2002 and 2003. However, Mark Cuban was not interested in re-signing Nash, who returned to Phoenix. Only recently has Cubes admitted that he was wrong about the future Hall-of-Famer, who won two NBA MVP trophies with the Suns.
2. Jason Kidd's Second Stint with Dallas Made Him and Dirk NBA Champions
Jason Kidd's two stints in Dallas were both jaw-dropping and exhilarating. J-Kidd was a whirling dervish in the 1994-95 season and co-winner of the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award, along with Grant Hill.
Frank Zaccanelli dealt Kidd to Phoenix before Don Nelson's arrival as Mavs GM. Nellie quickly got rid of the other J's, Jimmy Jackson and Jamal Mashburn but stewed about what could have been with the point guard of his dreams. Big Nellie loved Kidd's game but never got the chance to coach him.
Rick Carlisle was more fortunate. After Little Nellie and Cubes brought Kidd back to Dallas, Avery Johnson mishandled the great point guard. Carlisle would replace Johnson as head coach, and it was just a matter of time until Kidd orchestrated the Mavs to an NBA title.
Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are two of the greatest point guards of all-time, but they didn't have as many great seasons in Dallas as the man who wore jersey No.12.
1. Derek Harper Was the Greatest Mavs Point Guard in Franchise History
Derek Harper is perhaps the most underrated point guard in NBA history. With the quickest of hands, Harper amassed almost 2,000 career steals and ranked No. 11 all-time upon his retirement in 1999. On the offensive end, Harp finished with 16,006 points and 6,577 assists in 16 seasons.
Harp played 12 of those seasons in Dallas and brought it every night on both ends of the floor. The backcourt of Blackman and Harper led the Mavs to the 1988 Western Conference Finals before they lost in seven games to the Lakers, who were in the midst of back-to-back NBA titles.
In between his two stints in Dallas, Harper helped lead New York to the 1994 NBA Finals and was the front-runner to win the Finals MVP Award after five games. However, Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets denied Harp and the Knicks by winning Games 6 and 7 in Houston.
Derek will always be remembered as a Maverick, and it remains a mystery why his No.12 uniform has not yet been retired in Dallas. Hopefully, Mr. Cuban will correct that oversight.
For now, Harper will just be known as the greatest Mavs point guard ever. His consistent two-way excellence and longevity in Dallas necessitates that honor.