This Dallas Mavericks team has been on a roller coaster ride most of the year.
When experiencing several ups and downs, one seeks for something or someone to keep them up.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd are the stars and leaders.
A stoop below them is Josh Howard and Jason Terry. Are either one the X-Factor?
It is reasonable to designate a specific player key to your team's success, but one player shouldn't be considered your X-Factor.
For the Mavericks, the bench takes on this role.
Dallas has the usual starting group of Kidd, Antoine Wright, Howard, Nowitzki, and Erick Dampier.
Only two possess a real scoring threat to opposing defenses, Dirk and Josh. Wright's night depends on whether his defense is effective and hits the open shot. Kidd is responsible for running the show, a task he usually does exceptionally well. Anything positive from Dampier is gravy.
What happens if the starters aren't clicking?
This is where the bench factors in.
The Mavericks' second-leading scorer and the league's top reserve. Instant offense. His value to the team is beyond words. Terry is a crowd favorite. His work goes beyond the basketball court.
Has progressed tremendously this year with steady playing time. With his confidence sky high, he now orchestrates the second unit soundly.
Strong case for being Nowitzki's most reliable backup in his career. Bass is a man. Strength and determination drive the 6'9" power forward to make the most of his opportunities. Not many two-hand slam the way Bass does.
Provides activity on the glass and an ability to knock down jumpers. One of several players who can get up and finish at the rim.
Young and developing. His court action has been sporadic. When Hollins receives quality minutes, he has shown some bright spots. Finishes with authority. Protects the rim.
Work in progress. Green happens to be another victim of insufficient minutes, but it has been for the benefit of his development. Green is Dallas' most athletic player and in time will gain a larger role. We all know Green can dunk, but he's out to prove there's more to his game.
Needs some love. He only hit his first tre in the Wednesday night romp of the Utah Jazz. The former Irish sharpshooter hasn't found a groove in Dallas thus far. Carroll will find his way. The Mavericks can always use a player who can spread the floor.
There they are, folks, the Dallas Mavericks reserves.
Provide relief for the starters. Provide a spark and energy. Provide the difference.
When these subs come in and do their part, the Mavericks are a difficult team to beat.
They are the X-Factor.
They are the Bench.