Saturday , Apr , 12 , 2008 Oly Sandor

From Afterthought to Spoiler: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, & Dallas Mavericks A Factor In Playoffs

I was too quick to pronounce the Dallas Mavericks dead. The signs of a collapse were there, so thinking they’d miss the playoffs wasn’t unreasonable. Dirk Nowitzki was injured. Jason Kidd, after arriving from the swamps of Jersey, struggled with the west’s point guards and Coach Johnson’s hands-on style …

From Afterthought to Spoiler: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, & Dallas Mavericks A Factor In PlayoffsMy Take: I was too quick to pronounce the Dallas Mavericks dead. The signs of a collapse were there, so thinking they’d miss the playoffs wasn’t unreasonable.

Dirk Nowitzki was injured. Jason Kidd, after arriving from the swamps of Jersey, struggled with the west’s point guards and Coach Johnson’s hands-on style.

Most troubling, the Mavs lost their identity as a defensive team. Their get-stops system had gone MIA, milk-carton time. They couldn’t beat a side with a winning record. And with Denver and Golden State surging, Dallas looked primed for May’s draft lottery.

Suddenly, the tables have turned. Their death premature. The Mavs have rattled off three straight wins and with a week remaining in the regular season look locked for seventh in the Western Conference standings.

Here’s a question: would a top team want Dallas in the first round of the playoffs? The answer: hell no!

  • Two years ago, the Mavs were five quarters from winning the NBA Title. Last year, the Warriors knocked them out in the first round. So they’ve experienced losing, only now there’s little pressure as the seventh seed.
  • Kidd, even in his mid-thirties, can still elevate his play for a two-month tournament. Last year, he gave the Raptors fits in the first round. He’ll perform come playoff time.
  • Nowitzki’s knows he’s viewed as a soft Euro and choke artist. The German forward has much to prove and is motivated for a huge playoff.
  • Their supporting cast hasn’t changed. Last I checked Josh Howard could still play. Jason Terry, starting or not, is still The Jet. And Jerry Stackhouse is still a fine scorer off-the-bench.

The Mavericks could play spoiler and wreck some team’s dream of an NBA Title. Like I said, the funeral was premature and the surprises are guaranteed in the competitive and entertaining Western Conference.

Are the Mavericks a factor out west? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. Click here to read Oly’s blog and get his daily NBA Thoughts. Photo courtesy of photographer contraband and creative and can be found at flickr.com.