The Curious Case Of The Dallas Mavericks

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The Curious Case Of The Dallas Mavericks
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Do you remember in 2006, when the Dallas Mavericks were in the NBA Finals (for the first time in franchise history)? 

Do you remember in 2007, when the Dallas Mavericks had the best record in the NBA at 67-15 (the eighth best record in NBA history, and the best record this decade)? 

Do you remember in 2008, when the Dallas Mavericks finished 51-31 (their worst record since the 1999-00 season)? 

I know everyone remembers in 2009, when the Dallas Mavericks finished 52-30, earned the sixth seed in the Western Conference and went on to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round in five games (the first time advancing in the playoffs since their Western Conference Finals against the Suns). Then, unfortunately, they got beat up by the Denver Nuggets in five games. 

Despite a roller coaster type path of the last four years, Mavericks fans always seem to have faith in their Mavericks, being in the top five in attendance all four years. 

Though Dallas fans are some of the best in the game, most of them are wondering if the Mavericks can be a contender like they were in 2006 and 2007. 

Well, over the summer the Mavericks tried to improve their roster by getting electric forward Shawn Marion in a sign-and-trade. 

Lets have a look at the 2009-10 Dallas Mavericks: 

 

Owner: Mark Cuban 

Mark Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. 

Cuban's first order of business was at age 12, when he sold garbage bags in order to pay for an expensive pair of basketball shoes. While in school, Cuban had a variety of jobs, ranging from bartender to party prompter, to even being a disco dance instructor. 

Rather than attend high school for his senior year, Cuban enrolled as a full time student at the University of Pittsburgh. After one year there he transferred to Indiana University. Cuban spent his last three years there before graduating in 1981 with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. 

In 1982, after graduating, Cuban moved to Dallas and found work as a bartender. Then Cuban became a salesman for Your Business Software, one of the first PC Software retailers in Dallas. Less than a year later Cuban was terminated after meeting a client to procure new business. 

After his termination Cuban started his own PC Software retailing company, Micro Solutions, with support from his customers at Your Business Software. The company was an early proponent of technologies such as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes, and CompuServe. One of the company's largest clients was Perot Systems. In 1990, Cuban sold Micro Solutions to CompuServe for $6 million. He retained $2 million after taxes. 

In 1995, Cuban and former Indiana University alumnus Todd Wagner started Audio-net, combining their mutual interest in college basketball and web casting with a single server and ISDN line. In 1998 Audio-net became Broadcasting.com. One year later Broadcasting.com had grown to 330 employees and $13.5 million in revenue. In 1999 during the Dot-com boom era, Broadcasting.com was acquired by Yahoo! from Cuban for a whopping $5.9 billion in stock. 

On January 15, 2000, Cuban purchased the majority stake of the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. In the 20 years before Cuban bought the team it had a combined winning percentage of 40 percent. Since then Dallas has a winning percentage of 69 percent and went to the NBA Finals in 2006. 

 

GM: Donnie Nelson 

Nelson grew up in a basketball orientated childhood, being the son of future Hall Of Fame coach Don Nelson (who currently coaches the Warriors). 

Since 1990, Donnie has served as a assistant coach for the Lithuania national basketball team. In that span, he has helped them win three bronze medals in four Olympiads, a silver medal in the 1995 European Championships, and a gold medal in the 2003 European Championships.  

In 1994, Nelson served as a Scout for USA Basketball at the World Championships in Toronto. Dream Team II went undefeated that year on its way to capturing the gold medal. 

In 1995, Nelson was hired as assistant coach for the Phoenix Suns. Nelson coached under Paul Westphal, and got to coach players like Charles Barkley and the late Wayman Tisdale. 

In 1998, Nelson came to Dallas after three years with Phoenix. Nelson served as assistant coach under Don Nelson (who is his dad). In 2002, Nelson was promoted to GM of the Dallas Mavericks. Nelson has held the position since then, leading the Mavericks to the NBA Finals in 2006.

The Good:

Dallas selected forward Josh Howard (29th overall pick) in the star studded 2003 NBA Draft.

Howard, who was an All-Star in 2007, has been a steal for the Dallas Mavericks. In his six year career he has made game-winning shots and averaged a career 15.5 PPG.

The Mavericks signed Shawn Marion to a five-year, $39 million contract in a sign-and-trade with the Raptors, Grizzlies, and Magic.

Marion is a fast break waiting to happen, which should also complement Jason Kidd's elite passing vision. He can also help out the Mavericks defense with his outstanding hustle and play. 

The Bad:

Dallas re-signed forward Keith Van Horn and traded him with guards Devin Harris, Trenton Hassell, Maurice Ager, and center DeSagana Diop, along with first-round picks in 2008 (Ryan Anderson) and 2010 for guards Jason Kidd and Antoine Wright, and forward Malik Allen.
 
Dallas was looking to acquire a true point guard, a position they lacked since they had Steve Nash, then ended up trading away what they were hoping to get in Harris. Harris had a breakout year in New Jersey, averaging 21.3 PPG and 6.9 APG, and also making a couple clutch game wining shots.
 

Coach: Rick Carlisle
 
Rick Carlisle was born in Ogdensburgh, New York, and grew up there most of his childhood.
 
Carlisle went to school at Worcester Academy, and played two years at the University of Maine, then transferred to the University of Virginia. There he would co-captain the Cavaliers to the Final Four in 1984.
 
In the 1984 Draft Carlisle was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the third round.

Carlisle spent six seasons in the NBA, playing for the Nets, Knicks, and Celtics, and winning a championship in 1986 alongside Larry Bird. 
 
In 1990 Carlisle retired and became assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets, where he spent five seasons under Fitch and Chuck Daly. 
 
In 1994 Carlisle joined the Portland Trailblazers as an assistant coach under PJ Carlesimo. He spent three years there before going to the Indiana Pacers.
 
In 2001 Carlisle was hired as head coach of the Detroit Pistons. He would spend two years there, winning the NBA Coach of the Year in 2001-02 and guiding the Pistons to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2003. As a coach for the Pistons he had a combined .610 win percentage, but after he led the Pistons to the conference finals he was fired.

In 2003 the Indiana Pacers hired Carlisle as head coach. In his first season as head coach he guided the Pacers to the NBA's best record at 61-21. He ended up guiding them to the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to his former team. He spent four years with the Pacers, missing the playoffs once with them in 2007. 

The Dallas Mavericks then hired Carlisle in 2008 as head coach. He has held the position since guiding them to the playoffs in his first year as head coach. 

Strengths:  

Has great leadership, and is great at running a offense. 

Weakness:

Doesn't get off with management to well, which is why you don't want to see him and Mark Cuban have a soap opera type of season. 



Players: 

PG: Jason Kidd 

Kidd is a one of the best playmakers in the NBA and gets the whole team involved, which should help players like Shawn Marion, who excelled with point guard Steve Nash—whose style of play is similar to Kidd's—in Phoenix. Kidd can also be a great defender when he is into it, and is the best reobunding point guard in the league. Another plus from Kidd is that he is a great leader and a triple-double waiting to happen. The big question for Kidd is if his age wont ware down on him as the season goes on. 

SG: Josh Howard
Howard is a great scorer coming off the bench. He torched San Antonio in the playoffs last year with his scoring. He has great athleticism and has a huge wing span. Howard knows how to get to the basket and has a great jump shot. He is also a great rebounder for his size. 

SF: Shawn Marion 

Marion, who has been on quite a few teams lately, is one of the best athletes in the league. Marion has jaw-dropping leaping skills, and jumps high in a short period of time, which is a great skill to have for rebounding. He grabs 10 rebounds a night on a daily basis, and will make a great rebounding tandem with Nowitzki. Marion drives to the basket with no fear and is a fast break waiting to happen. Marion is also a great defender, and can guard multiple positions. 

PF: Dirk Nowitzki  

Nowitzki, who is the best European player in history, is a match-up nightmare for forwards. Nowitzki is one of the most versatile guys in the league. He dribbles like a playmaker, shoots like a guard, and rebounds like a center. He has almost perfect mechanics and can shoot over any defender. If you play Nowitzki close up he will drive right by you, but if you give him space he will shoot right over you. The only bad thing about Nowitzki is that he has below average defense. 

C: Eric Dampier

Dampier is a big tough player in the middle of the paint, he spends a lot of time in the weight room. He is a great rebounder and a good shot blocker. He can rebound on the offensive and defensive end. He has quick feet, although he is not really talented on the offensive end. He can be foul prone sometimes. 

Key Bench Player: Jason Terry

Terry is a great combo guard: he can shoot, score, and has great speed. Terry is also a great on-the-ball defender, which helps the Mavericks when facing conference rivals with guards like Richard Jefferson (Spurs) and Kobe Bryant (Lakers). He has a pretty jumper and is a great sidekick for Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. 

Dallas is an elite rebounding team, having great rebounders in Howard, Dampier, Marion, Nowitzki, and Kidd. They need to improve on their three-point shooting, as they were 25th in the league in three-point percentage. 
 
With all of this put together Dallas hopes to compete for the title again. It will be a tough competition there as they will have to deal with teams like the Lakers and Spurs. 
 
The question is though: 
Can Dallas compete for the NBA Title. 

Howard is a great scorer coming off the bench. He torched San Antonio in the playoffs last year with his scoring. He has great athleticism and has a huge wing span. Howard knows how to get to the basket and has a great jump shot. He is also a great rebounder for his size. 


 

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