The title of this post can stand for several teams in the DFW metroplex. In this instance we are discussing the Dallas Mavericks. Ever since winning the 2011 championship, the Mavericks have been mediocre at best. Why has Dallas stayed in this position? Are they doing it on purpose? Is their a plan? Here are some of my opinions on the matter.
Since winning the 2011 NBA Finals the Mavericks have an overall 176-136 record, and have not been able to get out of the 1st round. Record wise the team has improved over the past 3 seasons but is their a direction? Each year since 2011 the team has put together almost a new roster. Below is a breakdown of the roster from 2011-2012 to now.
G: Kelenna Azubuike, Vince Carter, Rodrigue Beabois, Dominique Jones, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Delonte West
F: Brian Cardinal, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, Brandon Wright, Yi Jianlian
C: Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi
G: Josh Akognon, Vince Carter, Rodrigue Beabois, Darren Collison, Jared Cunningham, Mike James, OJ Mayo, Anthony Morrow
F: Elton Brand, Jae Crowder, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Brandon Wright
C: Chris Kaman, Bernard James
G: Jose Calderon, Vince Carter, Wayne Ellington, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Shane Larkin, Ricky Ledo, Gal Mekel
F: DeJuan Blair, Jae Crowder, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Brandon Wright
G: JJ Barea, Monta Ellis, Raymond Felton, Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo
F: Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson, Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Dwight Powell, Amar’e Stoudemire, Charlie Villanueva
C: Greg Smith, Bernard James, Tyson Chandler
Is their continuity? Well, Dirk has been the one constant for sure. If you look at the roster, the Mavs have tried to build some stability around certain players. Some of the most prominent and longest tenured players over the past few years were Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, and Brandon Wright. What is interesting is that none of the players are still on the team. If you look at the current roster though, Devin Harris is the only player that has been around for 3+ years with Dirk. The ever changing roster does not leave an opportunity at consistency. Obviously the roster turnover has led to mediocrity but what is amazing is that the team has made the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons.
The Mavericks are not doing this on purpose. If they wanted to be mired in just being in the middle of the pact, it would make more sense to tank. What has happened to the Mavericks over the past few seasons is that they have missed out on big name free agents. Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and more have spurned Dallas for potentially greener pastures. Now, bringing these players in doesn’t guarantee a championship. Also, Dallas has avoided the issues that arise with a few of these players. The market is thin on superstars and teams like Boston, and Atlanta have shown that cohesiveness from the coach to the court can lead to success. Should we keep swinging? Yes, but swing at the right pitches, not every pitch.