Top 5 All-Time Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are only a little over 30 years old, which means that their list of great players isn’t anywhere near as long as, say, that of the Boston Celtics. But there are still plenty of really notable guys on their all-time roster, and today we’re going to look at the top five, plus a few extras worthy of honorable mention.
#5 – Jason Kidd (1994-1996, 2008-present)
What he did for the Mavs: Other than the fact that he helped the team win their first-ever championship (which is a huge deal, even if Kidd wasn’t necessarily the main reason they won it), it’s hard to judge Kidd’s career as a Maverick. He won Rookie of the Year with the team in 1995, the only Maverick ever to have won the award, and was an All-Star in ’96. The fact that he was moved to Phoenix before the 1996-1997 season after only two years with the club means that he spent all of his prime years with other organizations. He was named an All-Star again in 2010 after having returned to the team for a second stint, but by that point he was much slower (albeit much wiser) than the majority of his other All-Star years. There will always be a special place for him in Dallas fans’ hearts because of his role in the 2011 title season, but he’s not higher on the list because he simply wasn’t able to put in the time with the organization.
Worth noting: Kidd is the active NBA leader in games played, minutes played, assists, steals, and turnovers. That’s great, but most of that was done as a member of the Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets.
#4 – Steve Nash (1998-2004)
What he did for the Mavs: Well, we know Nash won two MVPs after the Mavericks decided to let him walk in free agency because he was allegedly too old, but what did he get done while still playing in Texas? Quite a bit, actually. He made two All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams, and with him at the helm the Mavericks became a perennially legitimate contender year after year. It’s too bad they couldn’t have kept him around for those MVP campaigns, as well.
Worth noting: Nash narrowly missed winning a third consecutive MVP trophy in 2006-2007 because Dirk Nowitzki, of all people, edged him out.
#3 – Mark Aguirre (1981-1989)
What he did for the Mavs: Along with Rolando Blackman, Aguirre was really the first Dallas Maverick to do anything of value for the new franchise. He spent 7 ½ seasons in Texas before getting traded to Detroit, and starting with his second season, he only averaged under 24 ppg one time (22.6ppg, 1985-86). All three of his All-Star appearances came as a member of the Mavericks, and he led the league in field goals made and attempted in ’83-’84. He’s the best scorer the franchise has ever seen this side of Dirk Nowitzki, and that’s what got him in the top five.
Worth noting: For some reason, a number of the players on this list have roots in the state of Illinois. Aguirre is from Chicago and played his college ball at DePaul University, Michael Finley is also from Chicago, where he played high school ball at Proviso East, and Derek Harper played his college basketball at the University of Illinois.
#2 – Rolando Blackman (1981-1992)
What he did for the Mavs: A trend you may have noticed with the players on this list are that hardly any of them played all of their peak years in Dallas. Blackman (and, of course, Nowitzki) is the exception to that. While Blackman played his last two seasons in New York, the bulk of his career went down in Dallas, where he appeared in four All-Star games and was named to two All-NBA teams. His #22 is one of only two jerseys retired by the team (the other is Brad Davis’s #15), and that speaks volumes about how the organization feels about him.
Worth noting: Blackman is still giving back to the Dallas/Fort Worth community as a member of the Board of Directors for the Assist Youth Foundation, which raises money to create opportunities for underprivileged kids in the Dallas area.
#1 – Dirk Nowitzki (1998-present)
What he did for the Mavs: A couple of weeks ago we did one of these for the Chicago Bulls, and while Michael Jordan was probably the most obvious #1 guy of any team we’ll ever do, the gap between him and #2 (Scottie Pippen) was nowhere near as large as the gap between Dirk and Blackman. Nothing against Rolando, but Dirk not only has an MVP award, a Finals MVP award, and of course a championship ring, but also 10 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA team selections, and even a three-point championship. He’s one of the most unguardable players in the history of the game, and he’s also one of the most likeable. All that, and he’s the most beloved Maverick ever, with good reason.
Worth noting: Nowitzki is also a seven-time European Player of the Year, not that such a thing has much bearing on his status as a Mav, but it does show that he’s equally as dominant in international play.
Brad Davis (1980-1992)
What he did for the Mavs: Other than Blackman, Davis is the only Mavericks player to ever have had his jersey retired, making him perhaps the most obscure retired jersey in the league. Despite that, he was a very tough player on a very bad team, and he’s the only guy on this list to have been with the team from the very beginning. By Mavericks standards (at least early Mavericks standards) he has to be mentioned, even if he wasn’t quite good enough to make the top five.
Worth noting: Davis’ professional basketball career didn’t follow a prototypical arch. After getting drafted by the Lakers in 1977 and playing one season with them and another with the Indiana Pacers, Davis found himself relegated to the Great Falls Sky of the Western Basketball Association. He found his way back into the league when he was added to the roster of the Dallas expansion team.
Derek Harper (1983-1994)
What he did for the Mavs: Harper spent his first 11 season with the Mavericks, which was long enough for him to establish himself as the all-time franchise leader in both steals and assists, both of which have stood up for the almost 20 years since he was traded to the New York Knicks. He’s also among the Mavericks’ top five all-time scorers, and he did appear on two All-Defensive Teams while playing for Dallas. In his prime, he was among the top point guards in the league, though never good enough to make an All-Star team. Still, his value as a Maverick can’t be challenged.
Worth noting: Despite the fact that he’s probably better known for his years in New York, Harper has returned to Dallas and now works as an analyst for the Mavericks for local TV.
Michael Finley (1996-2005)
What he did for the Mavs: Outside of this most recent Mavericks team that won the championship, probably the most impressive Dallas team to ever grace an NBA court was the one in which Finley, Steve Nash, and Dirk Nowitzki ran and gunned together for the better part of seven seasons. We know that Dallas is a relatively young franchise, so it’s not totally surprising for three guys from one squad end up in the top ten players in the team’s history, but Finley was a two-time All-Star as a Mav all on his own, and that counts for something, too. He’s not the greatest Maverick ever, but he’s certainly worthy of the discussion.
Worth noting: Finley ended up in Dallas because he was an important part of the trade that sent Jason Kidd to the Phoenix Suns.
The Mavericks are one of those teams that are tricky to do in terms of putting together a list of great players since the franchise is too young to really have a ton of them. Despite their relative newness, however, Dallas has managed to stay relevant since the ‘80s, and the guys you see on the above list are a huge reason as to why.