Remembering the Three J's: Dallas' Young and Exciting Trio of the 1990s

Mike B.Correspondent IJanuary 12, 2010

Building through the draft has proven to be an effective way to build an NBA championship-winning team.

The Dallas Mavericks took that approach in the 1990s as they used top-five picks in three consecutive years on talented youngsters Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn, and Jason Kidd.

Dubbed the "Three J's," the trio appeared to be the perfect pieces to rebuild around. Jackson and Mashburn were dangerous wing scorers, while Kidd was the ultimate pass-first point guard who could make everyone around him better.   

Kidd's rookie year, 1994-95, was the first season the trio played together and each player made valuable contributions.

Kidd led the league in triple-doubles and ended up sharing Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill.

Jackson and Mashburn formed one of the league's highest scoring duos as they both averaged over 24 points per game. They both had 50-point games that season as well.

But more importantly, the Mavs finished with a 36-46 record, which was a 23-win improvement from the previous season.

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The next season everything would fall apart.

Mashburn appeared in only 18 games, Jackson saw his scoring average drop to 19.6 ppg, and the Mavericks floundered to a lousy 26-56 record.

Kidd and Jackson then began to fight with one another. According to rumors, the two feuded over R&B singer Toni Braxton after Braxton went to pick up Kidd for a date at an Atlanta hotel and left with Jackson instead.

The Three Js' tenure in Dallas would then come to an end during the 1996-97 season as all three members were traded out of town.

Kidd was dealt to the Phoenix Suns on the day after Christmas in a package that included future Mavs star Michael Finley.

Then in February, Mashburn was sent to the Miami Heat and Jackson wound up heading to the New Jersey Nets in a huge nine-player trade.

The Three J's experiment had failed miserably, but all three members went on to have successful careers.

Kidd emerged as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. The nine-time All-Star was named to six All-NBA teams, nine All-Defensive teams, and became the second all-time assist leader.

Mashburn continued to be hampered with injuries, but became an All-Star with the New Orleans Hornets in 2003.

And Jackson turned into the ultimate journeyman playing for 10 other teams. However, he proved to be a solid reserve for many years.    

The Three J's never led the Mavericks to a championship or a playoff berth, but they sure were fun to watch when they were healthy and not bickering with one another.

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