Around the league among officials and players alike, the Dallas Mavericks are known as a soft and easily rattled team.
So far, they have done nothing to contradict this belief, from losing in the Finals to the less talented Miami Heat to downright withering in front of the Golden State Warriors.
Like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz, the Mavs are tragically flawed. In fact, they lack the most essential component of a championship team:
The Mavs remind me of the Sacramento Kings—an extremely talented team that seemed to choke in every big game. Maybe that's because their two best players aren't top notch No. 1 one options.
Dirk Nowitzki can dominate a game offensively, but he gets easily bothered by smaller defenders who body him and push him around. This was evidenced when little Sasha Vujacic (Laker guard) prevented him from getting into the paint, and when Stephen Jackson did that to him for a whole series.
What's more, his defense is paltry to nonexistent.
Josh Howard, meanwhile, is probably the Mavs' most talented player at both ends of the floor. But he lacks a major superstar quality:
The will to dominate his opponent.
The most damning weakness comes at the head coaching position. Avery Johnson has little to no faith in his team—from moving the team's shootaround from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale during the Finals to changing his lineup in the first round against the Warriors to calling timeouts almost every time the team makes a mistake.
Nobody would deny that he's a good coach, but Avery needs to change his style—or he risks being the most successful coach to get fired three years after being hired.
As is, his tendency to over-coach is sucking the life out of his team.
Mark Cuban better search for his own Wizard of Oz—because his Dallas Mavericks might forever be compared to the "cowardly lion."