Every winning NBA team knows this one simple truth, it takes a tandem of All-Star caliber players to make a championship contender.
Michael Jordan had Scotty Pippen, Tim Duncan had Robert Horry, Paul Pierce has Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant has Pau Gasol. What do all of these dynamic duos of the past and present have in common? They all won the ultimate prize together with their team...the NBA championship.
For the Dallas Mavericks, finding the right player to compliment our superhero star power forward Dirk Nowitzki has been a long and difficult quest. With championship ambitions, the Mavericks knew they had no choice but to remain vigilant to the cause of finding "Mr. Right."
I was reminded by a fellow Mavs fan of how hard it is to find the right player to pair up with Dirk, because he doesn't play the power forward position by the book. And he's right, Dirk plays his position like what you expect to see from a shooting-guard, not a low-post brut like you see on other teams.
Dirk is an unconventional player, so how in the heck do you find someone to matchup with him?
This guy has to be special; able to create his own shots, drive hard to the basket, and get some of the double teaming pressure off of Dirk. He has to be the one to take up the slack in scoring on the nights that Dirk has little or nothing in the tank to give.
In the beginning Dirk had Michael Finley, writers argue to this day that Dallas could have won a championship with this pair. We will never know since Finley pulled stakes leaving Dallas for San Antonio, and an eventual championship ring of his own (traitor).
Luck of the draft and genius of GM Donnie Neilson and Owner Mark Cuban found the talented Wake Forest star Josh Howard. As a rookie Howard earned starter minutes, and the small-forward spot was his to own and keep.
For a while our Batman Dirk had his Robin Josh, they almost joined the ranks of the above mention elite NBA duos. Together they had their chance at the coveted gold ring of glory by making the finals in 2006. Sadly that chance was squandered with our dynamic duo never rising to repeat that feat.
As the season passes team rosters change and coaches and staff changes too. For some players a heart for the game can change as well, and thus seemed to be the problem with Howard.
We read about Howard's spells of acting out in 2008, and questioned why the Mavericks didn't rid themselves of Howard then. The next season saw Howard struggle with injuries and his trade value plummeted.
In the mean time, our hero Dirk is playing his heart and soul out with little to no help from his team. His face showing the expression of a tired warrior...How much longer can he hold out? Will help be found in time?
At the start of this season the Mavs wanted Howard to move to the shooting guard, to accommodate the newly acquired Shawn Marion taking over the small forward. It would be evident that Howard didn't take this move very well by his lack luster play and on court body language.
Unable to get a trade of value for Howard, the Mavericks would have to be patient in hopes of finding "Mr. Right." As we have now learned that patient might have been well rewarded.
The Mavericks and the Washington Wizards made a deadline beating trade involving seven players. The principle players traded were Howard for Caron Butler. Finally a trade that really has gone the Mavericks way.
Butler is not just a good player, he's a great player, he has been stuck on going nowhere teams his entire career. Now on a playoff contending team, Butler shows us the promise of owning the two-guard position.
With a little help from point-guard Jason Kidd, butler is energized by the possibilities laid before the Mavericks. Could Butler indeed be "Mr. Right?"
Sure for our Batman Dirk, Butler is no Robin, but our last Robin turn out to be a Joker anyway. And every Batman has his Butler.