How Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, and the Dallas Mavericks compete in 2008-09
Six minutes. This was the difference between the Dallas Mavericks winning and losing a championship.
We’re referring to June 13, 2006. Game three of the NBA Finals. Dallas held a 2-0 series advantage over Miami in the NBA Finals. The third game and series looked finished with the Mavericks up 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Then disaster struck. Miami won the game, took the momentum, and was soon celebrating their first ever NBA Title. Dallas has never recovered, bowing out in the first round of the 2006-07 and 2007-08 playoffs.
Change, in the form of firing Avery Johnson, was necessary for Team Cuban this summer. But pink slipping the former coach of the year was easy. Contending in the highly competitive Western Conference will be much harder.
It’s not impossible, though …
In 2008-09, new coach Rick Carlisle must bring back blue-collar attitude. Last season, Dallas conceded a poor 96 points per game and collected just 32 rebounds per contest. For the Mavericks to compete, Carlisle should reduce the points per game to 93 and increase the rebounds to 38. These were the 2005-06 totals.
They need Josh Howard, Jason Kidd, and Dirk Nowitzki to emerge as a top trio. Dallas’ threesome has the potential to perform like Boston’s Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce or San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. Howard, controversy aside, is an ideal second star. Kidd is older, but still steady. And Nowitzki was an MVP.
‘Stack’ and ‘Jet’ must perform. Jerry Stackhouse has to continue posting strong numbers off the bench. When knocking down shots, the former All-Star provides a valuable second-unit scorer. Jason Terry, regardless of his role, must play with energy and swagger.
MLB or NBA? It’s no secret Cuban wants to buy baseball’s Chicago Cubs and sell the Mavericks. This has become a distraction. The renegade owner should clarify his intentions to either keep the team or find another buyer.
Dallas can’t get back those six minutes in 2006. And they can’t back their championship window. However, they can be a strong team in 2008-09.
Can the Mavericks contend? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Bramack.