Dallas Mavericks: The 20 Greatest Players in Franchise History
Since beginning play in 1980, the Dallas Mavericks have seen their share of ups and downs, with their good days coming in the mid to late '80s and for the past decade. Aside from that, they've struggled mightily, which includes their first few years in the league, as well as the 1990s.
For much of the '80s, the Mavericks remained competitive in the Western Conference, coming within a game of the NBA Finals in 1988. The core of Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman, Derek Harper, James Donaldson and Sam Perkins helped Dallas qualify for the playoffs six times in seven years from 1983-90.
After a terrible run in the '90s which included teams that won 11 and 13 games in 1992-93 and 1993-94, respectively, the Mavericks' fortunes changed when a billionaire entrepreneur came in and took control of the franchise.
On January 4, 2000, current owner Mark Cuban purchased a majority stake in the team, forever changing its fortunes. Since 2000-01, the Mavericks have made it to the playoffs every season, with their best showing being an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2006.
During their recent run of success, Dirk Nowitzki has been the one constant, receiving help along the way from great players like Steve Nash and Michael Finley, including current teammates like Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler.
For the record, these rankings are based only on the player's years in Dallas, not his career as a whole. On top of that, longevity is an important factor in determining who made the list.
And, now, the Mavs are once again in position to make it back to the NBA Finals. With home-court advantage in the upcoming Western Conference Finals, they will take on either Memphis or Oklahoma City for the a chance to compete for the championship.
No. 20: Erick Dampier, Center (2004-2010)
Best season with the team: 2008-09; 80 GP, 23.0 MPG, 65.0% FG, 63.8% FT, 5.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG
Notable accomplishments: Helped lead the team to the 2006 NBA Finals
While he never played an extensive amount of minutes, Erick Dampier was the starting center for Dallas for most of his six years with the team, helping to provide a presence down low for one of the league's best teams year in and year out.
In his time with the Mavericks, Dampier shot less than 55.0 percent from the floor just once and shot 62.4 percent or better from the floor in four of his seasons in Dallas.
No. 19: Detlef Schrempf, Forward (1985-1989)
Best season with the team: 1986-87; 81 GP, 21.1 MPG, 47.2% FG, 47.8% 3FG, 74.2% FT, 9.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG
Notable accomplishments: None
While his best years came later in his career, Detlef Schrempf provided a presence off the bench for the Mavericks during their successful run in the late '80s.
In the Mavericks' run to the Western Conference Finals in 1988, Schrempf played well in the postseason, averaging 7.8 points on 46.5 percent shooting.
He spent 3.5 season with the team before being traded to the Indiana Pacers for Herb Williams, where his career took off as he averaged double digits in points for the next 10 seasons.
No. 18: Jerry Stackhouse, Guard/Forward (2004-2009)
Best season with the team: 2004-05; 56 GP, 28.9 MPG, 41.4% FG, 84.9% FT, 14.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG
Notable accomplishments: Helped lead the team to the 2006 NBA Finals
In 4.5 seasons with Dallas, Jerry Stackhouse consistently provided a spark off the bench, averaging double digits in points ever year he played for the Mavericks. It had to have been a difficult transition for Stackhouse, seeing as he had to adjust from being someone who consistently scored over 20 points per game to coming off the bench.
In the 2006 NBA Playoffs, he helped lead Dallas to the NBA Finals, averaging 13.7 PPG during the postseason.
No. 17: Devin Harris, Point Guard (2004-2008)
Best season with the team: 2006-07; 80 GP, 26.0 MPG, 49.2% FG, 82.4% FT, 10.2 PPG, 3.7 APG
Notable accomplishments: Helped lead the Mavericks to the 2006 NBA Finals
While with the Mavericks, Devin Harris helped to diversify the team's offense, creating matchup problems for the defense as he spread the floor because of his shooting ability. That, and his ability to drive to the hoop enabled him to score inside and set up teammates for open shots.
Some have argued that, with as well as Harris has played since being traded away, the Mavericks have been worse off since they got rid of him.
I would partially agree with that statement.
No. 16: Brad Davis, Point Guard (1981-1992)
Best season with the team: 1982-82; 79 GP, 29.4 MPG, 57.2% FG, 84.5% FT, 11.6 PPG, 7.2 APG
Notable accomplishments: Had his No. 15 retired
From 1980-81 through 1984-85, Brad Davis was the Mavericks' primary point guard, averaging between 6.2 and 7.1 assists per game during that span. He also provided some scoring, averaging between 10.1 and 12.1 points per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. In 1985, there was a changing of the guard as Derek Harper began to take on more of the responsibilities as the team's chief floor general.
From that point on, Davis provided quality production off the bench, distributing the ball and shooting it well from the floor.
He was the first Maverick to have his jersey retired when his No. 15 was raised to the rafters at Reunion Arena in 1991.
Since 1993, he has served in some capacity with the Mavericks, whether it be as an assistant coach, television or radio commentator and as the team's player development coach.
No. 15: James Donaldson, Center (1986-1992)
Best season with the team: 1986-87; 82 GP, 36.9 MPG, 58.6% FG, 81.2% FT, 10.8 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.7 BPG
Notable accomplishments: One-time All-Star (1988)
During his six seasons in Dallas, James Donaldson helped to provide a stout, inside presence for the Mavericks, a nice complement to a unit that included Harper, Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre and Roy Tarpley.
In 1988, when the Mavericks got to within a game of the NBA Finals, Donaldson was named an All-Star and, during their postseason run, averaged 9.3 points per game on 65.4 percent shooting from floor to go with 8.6 rebounds per game.
No. 14: Jim Jackson, Shooting Guard (1993-1997)
Best season with the team: 1993-94; 82 GP, 37.4 MPG, 44.5% FG, 82.1% FT, 19.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.6 APG
Notable accomplishments: None
After being drafting by the Mavericks with the fourth overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, Jim Jackson engaged in a contract dispute with the team and played in just 28 games during his rookie season. He quickly became a potent offensive threat
In his first season with the team, he averaged 16.3 points per game, and, two years later, he was the league's sixth-leading scorer, averaging 25.7 PPG on 47.2 percent shooting in 51 games before suffering an ankle injury.
Despite the fact that he, Jason Kidd and Jamal Mashburn helped to form a potent offensive trio in the mid-90s, the team never truly gelled, and Jackson was dealt to New Jersey midway through the 1996-97 season.
No. 13: Jamal Mashburn, Small Forward (1994-1997)
Best season with the team: 1994-95; 80 GP, 37.3 MPG, 43.6% FG, 73.9% FT, 24.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.7 APG
Notable accomplishments: One-time All-Star (2003); All-Rookie Team (1994)
Jamal Mashburn's first two years with Dallas were easily his best with the team. In his rookie season, 1993-94, Mashburn averaged 19.2 points per game. After Jason Kidd joined him and Jim Jackson the next season, Mashburn averaged 23.3 PPG on 43.6 percent shooting and the Mavericks improved their win total from 13 to 36 games, the best turnaround in the NBA.
However, the Mavericks regressed the next season, winning just 26 games as Mashburn played in just 18 games due to injury.
Midway through the 1996-97 season, Mashburn was traded to the Miami Heat.
No. 12: Josh Howard, Small Forward (2004-2009)
Best season with the team: 2006-07; 70 GP, 35.1 MPG, 45.9% FG, 38.5% 3FG, 82.7% FT, 18.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG
Notable Accomplishments: Helped lead the team to the 2006 NBA Finals; One-time All-Star (2007); All-Rookie Second Team (2004)
After averaging 8.6 points per game in his rookie season, Josh Howard took off from there, moving into the starting lineup and increasing his scoring average to 12.6, 15.6, 18.9 and 19.9 PPG.
During the Mavs' run to the NBA Finals in 2006, Howard averaged 16.7 PPG and 7.4 RPG in the playoffs.
After being a consistent force in the lineup, Howard struggled in the '09-'10 season, averaging 12.5 PPG on a paltry 40.1 percent shooting in 31 games before being dealt to Washington.
No. 11: Sam Perkins, Forward/Center (1985-1990)
Best season with the team: 1985-86; 80 GP, 32.8 MPG, 50.3% FG, 81.4% FT, 14.8 PPG, 7.4 RPG
Notable Accomplishments: All-Rookie First Team (1985)
After his rookie season (1984-85), Sam Perkins established himself as a starter in the Mavericks' lineup. After becoming a starter, he averaged between 14.2 and 15.9 PPG, 7.5 and 8.99 RPG and consistently shot just under 50 percent from the floor and above 80 percent from the foul-line.
He is the only member of the Dallas Mavericks to ever record a 30-20 when he scored 31 points and grabbed 20 rebounds against Houston on December 12, 1986.
Perkins left the Mavericks after the 1989-90 season when he surprised Dallas by signing with the L.A. Lakers.
No. 10: Jay Vincent, Small Forward (1982-1986)
Best season with the team: 1984-85; 79 GP, 32.2 MPG, 47.9% FG, 83.6% FT, 18.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG
Notable Accomplishments: None
Jay Vincent had five productive seasons with Dallas and was simply magnificent if three of his first four years with the team.
During those three seasons, 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1984-85, Vincent averaged 21.4, 18.7 and 18.2 PPG, grabbed 7.0, 7.3 and 8.9 RPB and shot 49.7, 48.9 and 47.9 percent from the floor.
After his remarkable play during his rookie season, Vincent finished third in Rookie-of-the-Year Voting.
As a Sixth Man, he scored what was at the time a team record for points off the bench, scoring 35 against Boston on March 8, 1984.
After the 1985-86 season, Vincent was traded to the Washington Bullets for a 1990 first-round pick.
No. 9: Roy Tarpley, Forward/Center (1987-1991)
Best season with the team: 1987-88; 81 GP, 28.5 MPG, 50.0% FG, 74.0% FT, 13.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG
Notable accomplishments: All-Rookie Team (1987); Sixth Man of the Year (1988)
Roy Tarpley had an interesting career, to say the least.
Despite playing just 280 games in five seasons for the Mavericks, Tarpley certainly left his mark, in both good ways and bad.
The seventh pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, Tarpley's effect was felt immediately as he averaged 7.5 PPG and 7.1 RPG in his rookie season, good enough to be named to the NBA's All-Rooke First Team.
In his third season, knee injuries hindered Tarpley and, on January 5, 1989, he was suspended by the league for substance abuse issues, playing in only 19 games that season.
In 1989-90, Tarpley averaged 16.8 PPG and 13.1 RPG before missing the rest of the season because of problems yet again with substance abuse.
After that, he played in just 60 games in two seasons before being banned from the NBA for life.
No. 8: Jason Terry, Guard (2005-Present)
Best season with the team: 2008-09; 74 GP, 33.7 MPG, 46.3% FG, 37.5% 3FG, 88.0% FT, 19.6 PPG, 3.4 APG
Notable accomplishments: Helped lead the Mavericks to the 2006 NBA Finals; Won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award (2009); became the fifth player in NBA history to score at least 30 points in his first NBA Finals game (M. Jordan, S. Kemp, T. Duncan, A. Iverson)
Jason Terry was brought in after Steve Nash left as a free agent for Phoenix in 2004, and, it's safe to say, he's been a quality replacement for the future Hall-of-Famer.
During his time in Dallas, Terry has consistently been a potent scorer for the Mavericks. Since 2005-06, he's never averaged fewer than 15.5 points and has shot below 45.1% from the floor just once. He is a great free-throw shooter and is also a three-point threat.
Since arriving in Dallas, he has been the second or third best scoring option for the team. During the team's run to the NBA Finals in 2006, Terry averaged 18.9 points, shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 83.0 percent from the free-throw line.
He's been instrumental in the Mavericks' playoff run this year, shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and scoring 20 points or more in four of Dallas' nine postseason games.
No. 7: Jason Kidd, Point Guard (1995-1997; 2008-Present)
Best season with the team: 1995-96; 81 GP, 37.5 MPG, 38.1% FG, 69.2% FT, 16.6 PPG, 9.7 APG, 6.8 RPG
Notable accomplishments: Rookie of the Year (1995); Three-time NBA All-Star (1996, 2008, '10)
During his time in Dallas (1994-95 through 1996-97 & 2007-09 to present), Jason Kidd has performed remarkably well as the team's point guard, averaging fewer than 8.2 assists just once.
One of the greatest point guards in NBA history, Kidd's first go-around in Dallas saw the team improve by 23 games in his rookie season, only to see them regress in his second season. Kidd was traded to Phoenix midway through the 1996-97 season.
In his recent years with the Mavericks, Kidd's shooting has drastically improved even as he continues to log heavy minutes.
No. 6: Steve Nash, Point Guard (1999-2004)
Best season with the team: 2001-02; 82 GP, 34.6 MPG, 48.3% FG, 45.5% 3FG, 88.7% FT, 17.9 PPG, 7.7 APG
Notable accomplishments: Two-time All-Star (2002-03)
Steve Nash, acquired in a trade from Phoenix prior to the 1998-99 season, was part of the resurgence that saw the Mavericks become of a member of the NBA's elite teams in the early part of the 2000s.
He broke out in his third season with the team, becoming a full-time starter while raising his scoring average (8.6 to 15.6) and his assists (4.9 to 7.3) as the Mavericks improved from 40 wins to 53 wins and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
In his final three seasons in Dallas, Nash never shot lower than 46.5 percent from the floor, 40.5 percent from beyond the arc and 88.7 percent from the charity stripe, and averaged between 14.5 and 17.9 points and 7.3 and 8.8 assists.
No. 5: Michael Finley, Guard/Forward (1996-2005)
Best season with the team: 1999-2000; 82 GP, 42.2 MPG, 45.7% FG, 40.1% 3FG, 82.0% FT, 22.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.3 APG
Noteable accomplishments: Two-time NBA All-Star (2000-01)
Michael Finley came to the Mavericks midway through the 1996-97 season and was released following the 2004-05 season. In that time, he was one of the primary reasons Dallas went from being a perennial loser to being a contender. His versatility as a scorer, shooter, rebounder and passer helped him to become one of the team's best players for a number of years. Along with Dirk Nowtizki and Steve Nash, he formed a potent trio that helped establish the Mavericks as one of the league's elite teams.
During his time in Dallas, he consistently logged heavy minutes, shot the ball well from the floor and the free-throw line, and rebounded the ball. He was arguably as important to Dallas' resurgence as any other player, including Nowitzki.
No. 4: Rolando Blackman, Shooting Guard (1981-1992)
Best season with the team: 1983-84; 81 GP, 37.3 MPG, 54.6% FG, 81.2% FT, 22.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.6 APG
Noteable accomplishments: Four-time All-Star (1985-87; '90)
One of the greatest players in franchise history, Rolando Blackman is the Mavericks' second all-time leading playoff scorer and, until Dirk Nowitzki came along, was the team's all-time leader in field goals (6,487) and points (16,643).
He played on six Dallas playoff teams, establishing himself as one of the game's great shooters. In 1982-83, his second season in the league, he became a full-time starter, never averaging fewer than 17.7 points in a season while consistently shooting between 47 and 53 percent from the floor and at, or above, 84 percent from the free-throw line.
Since 2000, Blackman has served the Mavericks as the team's defensive coordinator, a television analyst, an assistant coach and is currently the Director of Player Development.
It is reasonable to argue that Blackman could be as high as No. 2 on this list.
No. 3: Derek Harper, Point Guard (1984-1994; 1996-1997)
Best season with the team: 1989-90; 82 GP, 36.7 MPG, 48.8% FG, 37.1% 3FG, 79.4% FT, 18.0 PPG, 7.4 APG
Notable accomplishments: Two-time Second Team NBA All-Defensive Team (1987, '90)
As starting point guard of the Mavericks from 1985-86 through 1993-94, Derek Harper helped lead the Mavericks to within one game of the NBA Finals in 1988 and consistently averaged between 16.0 and 19.7 points. His usually averaged over 7.0 assists per game, and he shot the ball well from the floor and the free-throw line.
While logging heavy minutes, he consistently shot the ball well and was the catalyst for an offense that featured Rolando Blackman, Sam Perkins, Roy Tarpley and Sam Donaldson.
The reason Harper is higher than Blackman and Finley on this list is because it's always been my belief that a point guard serves a much more important role than does a shooting guard or small forward.
No. 2: Mark Aguirre, Guard/Forward (1982-1989)
Best season with the team: 1983-84; 79 GP, 36.7 MPG, 52.4% FG, 74.9% FT, 29.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.5 APG
Notable accomplishments: Three-time All-Star (1984, '87, '88)
Mark Aguirre was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the first overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft. In his first season with the team, the Mavericks finished 28-54. In his last full season with the team, 1987-88, the Mavericks finished 53-29 and got to within one game of the NBA Finals.
During the Mavericks' resurgence in the '80s, Aguirre served as the primary option on offense, teaming with Rolando Blackman to form a potent one-two punch. He also finished in the top 10 in scoring six times while playing for Dallas, including second in 1983-84.
He is ranked third in franchise history in scoring with 13,930 points, behind Dirk Nowitzki and Rolando Blackman.
Midway through 1988-89, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Adrian Dantley and a first-round draft pick.
No. 1: Dirk Nowitzki (1999-Present)
Best season with the team: 2006-07; 78 GP, 36.2 MPG, 50.2% FG, 41.6% 3FG, 90.4% FT, 24.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.4 APG
Notable accomplishments: 2007 Most Valuable Player; 10-time All-Star (2002-11); Four-time All-NBA First Team (2005-07; '09); Four-time All-NBA Second Team (2002-03; '08, '10)
During the Mavericks' successful run over the past decade, there has been one constant: Dirk Nowitzki.
The superstar has been in Dallas for 12 years, and during that time, has led the team to the NBA Finals, been named the league's MVP, and helped to consistently make the Mavericks one of the NBA's elite teams.
Offensively, he is the complete package: He shoots the ball well from all areas of the floor, scores, rebounds and consistently averages between 23 and 26 points per game.