NBA Finals 2011: Jason Terry and 5 Unsung Heroes for the Dallas Mavericks
No matter what Dirk Nowitzki does, the media will find a way to shift the focus on him since he is the best player on the Dallas Mavericks.
There is no one to blame; the man finally got his ring and the Bill Russell Finals MVP to boot.
However, it is well known that Dirk couldn't have done it without his supporting cast.
The Dallas Mavericks are the deepest team in the NBA. The team consists of many veterans entering the back ends of their career but still have enough left in the tank to contribute consistently. This includes Dirk himself.
Some of these veterans, like Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, were studs in their own right when they were in their prime.
This slideshow shines light on other contributors that deserve it.
6. Jason Terry
Jason Terry is first up since he doesn't need too much recognition here.
He brought enough attention to himself when he tattooed the Larry O'Brien trophy on his bicep prior to the series and by calling out LeBron James.
However, whether or not the Mavericks won depended on Jason Terry.
While Dirk Nowitzki took over in the fourth quarter of Game 6, Terry did a lot of the heavy lifting in the other three while Dirk was ice cold.
In their losses, Terry kept chucking up shots while he was struggling and made questionable decisions. In Dallas' wins, Terry knocked down shots and passed the ball when it was the better option.
Terry stepped up his game when it mattered most.
5. Jose Juan Barea
The little man was shut down in the first four games, thanks to Mario Chalmers.
What happened to the speedy guy that provided quick offense?
Well, J.J. Barea stepped up by scoring 17 and 15 points the final two games, respectively.
He went back to being the guy we were used to seeing against the Los Angeles Lakers.
His deep shooting, quickness, and creativity around the rim gives the Dallas Mavericks another scorer than can take some of the pressure off Dirk Nowitzki.
Barea showed that he still needs some development before he's ready to take over full time, but for now he deserves to enjoy being atop the NBA with his teammates.
4. DeShawn Stevenson
The Dallas Mavericks couldn't have asked for better long-range shooting from their energetic shooting guard.
While he's always a little too aggressive on defense, leading to silly fouls, nobody can argue with DeShawn Stevenson's determination.
Whether it was Dwayne Wade or LeBron James, Stevenson left it all on the court and did his best to defend them.
The most important element Stevenson brings for the Mavs is an edge for anybody who thought they were soft.
3. Shawn Marion
Shawn Marion showed the Dallas Mavericks flashes of The Matrix from Phoenix.
While he's not the high-flyer anymore, Marion put up numbers reminiscent of his old days.
His best performances came early on, where he posted a double-double in Game 1 and had 20 points and eight rebounds in Game 2.
Marion played inspired basketball throughout the series.
In the picture, he's actually talking trash to LeBron James after making a shot. He had no problem taking on a good defender and showing his arsenal of post moves and penetration to the basket.
For most of the series, he was the Mavs' best post player. Rick Carlisle ran the offense through him whenever he realized Marion had the hot hand.
He surprisingly got a decent amount of offensive rebounds as well. They led to crucial second chance points.
Props to Marion for displaying pride out there while checking his ego at the door before accepting a reduced role in Dallas. Sure looks like it paid off.
2. Tyson Chandler
Over the last decade, the Dallas Mavericks were always a good offensive team. It was usually a different story regarding their defense.
Remember, defense wins championships.
Acquiring Tyson Chandler despite already signing Brendan Haywood to a long term deal was a risky move given Chandler's injury history.
But in the NBA Finals, it was Haywood missing time to injury and Chandler staying on the floor for more minutes. Granted, Chandler was always the starter and had no injury issues this season, but Haywood still saw significant playing time.
Mark Cuban and the Mavs got everything they expected from Chandler: a guy that can defend the paint, crash the boards and add toughness.
He'll get the occasional double-double, but Chandler's defense and rebounding is just as valuable as Dirk Nowitzki's scoring to the Mavs.
The defensive intensity he brought to this team was the difference between one-and-done and championship.
1. Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd's presence on the offensive side of the court is equivalent to Tyson Chandler's presence on the defensive end.
Surprisingly enough, the old and slow Jason Kidd played spectacular defense whenever he had to check LeBron James.
He also hit several long range shots late in games to help seal the deal or contribute to comeback efforts.
Nothing proves Jason Kidd's worth more than when J.J. Barea was struggling and the Dallas Mavericks looked confused and out of sync with Kidd on the bench.
If they continued playing that way, the Miami Heat would've won Game 5.
Kidd's stat sheet won't impress anyone; however, he is the epitome of a floor general.
After Game 6 he said he'd like to play three or four more years with the Mavericks. If his body can hold up, it would be a delight to see that happen.