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Dallas Mavericks

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Dallas Mavericks

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The Dallas Mavericks are a National Basketball Association team based in Dallas, Texas. They are owned by Mark Cuban.

Contents

Basic Info

  • Founded: 1980
  • Formerly known as:
  • Home Arena: American Airlines Center
  • Uniform colors: Midnight blue, White, Blue, and Silver
  • Logo design: A horse's head superimposed over a basketball
  • NBA Championships: None
  • 2004-05 Record: 58-24

Franchise history

The Expansion Years

The Dallas Mavericks franchise was first conceptualized by Don Carter and Norm Sonju in 1979, when they requested the right to bring an NBA franchise to Dallas. The last professional basketball team in Dallas had been the Dallas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association, which moved to San Antonio in 1973 and became the San Antonio Spurs.

At the 1980 NBA All-Star Game, league owners voted to admit the new franchise, and the Mavericks paid a $12 million entry fee to join the NBA for the 1980-81 season. They joined the Midwest Division of the Western Conference, where they would remain until the league went to six divisions for the 2004-05 season. Dick Motta, who'd guided the Washington Bullets to the NBA Championship in 1975-76, was hired as the team's first head coach. He had a well-earned reputation of being a stern disciplinarian, but was also a great teacher of the game.

Kiki Vandeweghe of UCLA was drafted by the Mavs with the 11th pick of the 1980 NBA Draft, but Vandeweghe refused to play for the expansion Mavericks and staged a holdout that lasted a month into the team's inaugural season. He was traded to the Denver Nuggets, along with a first-round pick in 1986, in exchange for two future first-round picks that eventually materalized into Rolando Blackman in 1981 and Sam Perkins in 1984.

In the Mavericks' debut game, taking place in the brand-new Reunion Arena, the Mavericks stunned the San Antonio Spurs, 103-92. But the Mavs started the season with a discouraging 6-40 record on their way to finishing 15-67. However, the Mavericks did make a player acquisition that, while it seemed minor at the time, turned out to play a very important role in the early years of their franchise.

Journeyman 6'3" guard Brad Davis, who played for the Anchorage Northern Knights of the Continental Basketball Association, was tracked down and signed by the Mavs in December. At the time, there was absolutely no reason to expect that Davis would be any better than the expansion-level talent the Mavs had. But he started the Mavs' final 26 games, led the team in assists, and his career soared. He spent the next twelve years with the Mavericks, and eventually his #15 jersey was retired.

The 1981 NBA Draft brought three players who would become vital parts of the team. The Mavs selected 6'6" forward Mark Aguirre with the first pick, 6'6" guard Rolando Blackman 9th, and 6'7" forward Jay Vincent 24th. By the end of his seven-year Mavs career, Aguirre would average 24.6 points per game. Blackman contributed 19.2 points over his 11-year career in Dallas.

But it was Jay Vincent who made the biggest difference for the Mavs in their second season, leading the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and earning NBA All-Rookie Team honors. The Mavericks improved to 28-54, getting out of the Midwest Division cellar as they finished above Utah.

Becoming a Power Early

In 1982-83, the Mavericks really began to make their run for their first postseason berth, but fell just short, finishing seven games behind the Denver Nuggets for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. But the Mavs' 38-44 record signified a 10-game improvement from the previous season, and the fact that a third-year expansion team had even been in playoff contention at all was quite remarkable.

At the All-Star break, the Mavericks were 25-24, having won 12 of their last 15 games. They couldn't sustain their momentum for the second half of the season, but they had clearly become a team to be feared.

Mark Aguirre led the '82-83 Mavericks with 24.4 points per game, finishing sixth in the NBA. Jay Vincent and Rolando Blackman contributed 18.7 and 17.7 ppg, respectively. Brad Davis was 10th in the NBA in assists with 7.2 per game, and shot .845 from the line, 6th in the league.

Derek Harper was drafted by the Mavs with the 11th pick of the 1983 NBA Draft. The 6'4" guard would spend the next decade with the organization, averaging 15 points and 6.1 assists.

The Mavericks' hard work paid off in 1983-84 as they posted a winning record for the first time in franchise history, finishing 43-39 and second in the Midwest Division. The Mavs also earned the first playoff berth in franchise history. Mark Aguirre was named the team's first NBA All-Star, as he finished with an average of 29.5 points per game-- second in the league only to Utah's Adrian Dantley.

Dallas finished with the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, and their first playoff trip was modestly successful as they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in five games. The Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers were next for the Mavs, and the young club fell short, losing four games to one.

But a trade the Mavericks made in their inaugural season of 1980 paid off for them in 1984, because they owned Cleveland's first-round pick, which ended up being the fourth pick overall. The Mavs used it to select forward/center Sam Perkins, a former North Carolina Tar Heel with surprising range from the three-point line who would average 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds in six seasons with Dallas.

The 1984-85 team finished a game better than the previous year at 44-38. Mark Aguirre led the team in scoring again with 25.7 ppg, Sam Perkins made the All-Rookie team, and Rolando Blackman represented the Mavericks in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game.

The Mavs returned to the playoffs in 1985, but weren't as successful as they had been the previous year. They won Game 1 in double-overtime against the Portland Trail Blazers in their first-round playoff series, but lost the next three games in a row, ending their season.

A True Contender

Dallas had the eighth pick in the 1985 NBA Draft-- again thanks to a trade with the Cavaliers-- and drafted German-born forward Detlef Schrempf out of Washington. He would show flashes of brilliance in his three-plus seasons with the team, but unfortunately it wasn't until he was traded to the Indiana Pacers that he displayed his full potential.

The Mavericks also traded center Kurt Nimphius to the Los Angeles Clippers for center James Donaldson, who would play for the Mavericks until halfway through the 1991-92 season. This allowed the Mavericks to have the steady hand at center that had been lacking throughout their franchise's existence.

Rolando Blackman represented the Mavericks in the 1986 All-Star Game, hosted by Dallas at Reunion Arena. The '85-'86 Mavericks were an extremely high-scoring team, averaging 115.3 points per game, which would be unheard of in the NBA of the early 2000s. The Mavs made their third straight playoff appearance and defeated Utah three games to one in the first round. In the conference semifinals, they ran into the Lakers again, and L.A. defeated Dallas in six games on their way to eventually winning the title. But four of those games were decided by four points or less, and Dallas won half of those, leaving Mavericks fans room to hope that they could finally top the Lakers in the following season.

The Mavs drafted Michigan center Roy Tarpley with the seventh overall pick, who would go on to become a very talented-- but troubled-- member of the roster.

The 1986-87 Mavericks team had their most successful regular-season ever, going 55-27 and winning their first Midwest Division title. But despite the great expectations surrounding the team, they self-destructed in the playoffs. After a 22-point beatdown of the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 1, the bottom dropped out for the Mavs, as they lost Games 2 and 3 in close fashion before getting their backsides handed to them in a humiliating Game 4 defeat in Seattle.

Following the unexpected early playoff exit, coach Dick Motta, who'd been with the team since its inception, shockingly resigned as head coach. John MacLeod, who'd led the Phoenix Suns to nine playoff berths including an NBA Finals run in 1976, was hired as his replacement.

Western Conference Champions... Almost

The 1987-88 season saw the Mavericks dip just a little bit in the regular season-- finishing 53-29 and losing their Midwest Division title to the Denver Nuggets-- but it was another successful year for the team. Mark Aguirre and James Donaldson both played in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game, the Mavericks rattled off a franchise-best 11-game winning streak, and Rolando Blackman scored his 10,000th career point.

Aguirre lead the team in scoring for the sixth consecutive year with 25.1 points per game, and Roy Tarpley won the NBA Sixth Man Award with averages of 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds.

The team had its most successful postseason to date in the 1988 NBA Playoffs. They dispatched the Houston Rockets in four games and the Nuggets in six, leaving only the defending NBA Champion Lakers between them and a trip to the NBA Finals.

The Mavericks gave L.A. everything they could handle, but in the end the more experienced Lakers prevailed, defeating Dallas in seven games on the way to eventually winning their second consecutive NBA Championship.

Injuries and Changes Ruin a Season

The Mavericks' 1988-89 season was decimated by injuries, suspensions, and the trading of two of the team's best players. Dallas started the season 9-3, but spiraled rapidly down the tubes after that. Roy Tarpley violated the league's antidrug policy and was given an indefinite suspension. In mid-February, Mark Aguirre was traded to the eventual champion Detroit Pistons for Adrian Dantley-- ironically, the only man who outscored him during the 1983-84 season. But Dantley refused to report to the Mavericks at first, holding out for eight days. During the holdout, Detlef Schrempf was traded to Indiana for Herb Williams, and went on to have the best days of his career in Pacers and Sonics uniforms.

James Donaldson went down with a ruptured patella tendon on March 10 1989, and missed the rest of the season as a result. The Mavericks were left undermanned, demoralized and disheartened as they finished with a 38-44 record, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1982-83.

Briefly Bouncing Back

The Mavericks returned to the playoffs in 1989-90 with a 47-35 record, but it was another season of off-court chaos. On November 15, only six games into the Mavs' season, Roy Tarpley was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. The team started 5-6 and Coach John MacLeod was fired, replaced by Assistant Coach Richie Adubato. The Mavs finished the season with four straight victories to surge into the playoffs, but three losses to the Portland Trail Blazers later, their season was over.

Freefalling

Their brief 1990 playoff appearance would be the team's last until 2001. The team endured numerous changes in 1990, losing Sam Perkins to the Lakers via free agency and suffering injuries to practically their entire 1990-91 starting lineup. The players they managed to acquire-- Rodney McCray, Fat Lever and Alex English-- were all in the twilight of their careers. On November 9 it was announced that Fat Lever would have season-ending surgery on his right knee, and that very night, Tarpley suffered a knee injury of his own which ended his season. The Mavericks' season only got worse from there, and they finished with a record of 28-54, falling behind even the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic.

In March of 1991, Tarpley was charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and was suspended again by the NBA.

The 1991-92 season continued the team's descent. Before the season even began, Tarpley violated the league's substance abuse policy for the third time and was banned from the NBA. The former Sixth Man Award winner's fall from grace was complete. The few talented players the Mavericks had remaining to them were lost to injury. Brad Davis' back problems forced him to retire in mid-January, and Fat Lever had knee surgery again on January 29, missing the remainder of the season-- hardly worth the cost of losing two first-round draft picks. The team fell six games to finish with a 22-60 record.

In 1992-93 the rebuilding began in earnest, with the Mavs trading Rolando Blackman-- who by that point had surpassed Mark Aguirre as the team's all-time leading scorer-- to the New York Knicks for a first-round draft pick. Blackman had made four All-Star Game appearances in his Mavericks career. Herb Williams joined the Knicks as a free agent. Fat Lever underwent more surgery and missed the entire 1992-93 season. Derek Harper was the team's sole bright spot, leading the team with 18.3 points per game.

Flirting with Futility

The Mavericks selected Ohio State guard Jim Jackson with the fourth overall pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, but he and owner Donald Carter couldn't come to terms on a contract for half of his rookie season. Jackson only played 28 games in 1992-93, a year that was also ruined by trades, a coaching change and injuries. The Mavericks started 2-27 and fired Coach Richie Adubato on January 13, replacing him with Gar Heard. The Mavericks came dangerously close to setting the all-time worst record in NBA history (9-73, set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers). But when Jackson was signed on March 3 and Quinn Buckner was hired to take over coaching responsibilities starting the following season, the Mavs managed to rally, closing the season with a 7-14 mark, including two straight wins to end the season. The Mavs finished 11-71.

1993-94 marked Quinn Buckner's first-- and as it turned out, last-- season as coach of the Mavericks. Dallas selected Kentucky forward Jamal Mashburn with the fourth overall pick of the 1993 NBA Draft, but the team's progress was minimal, to say the least. The Mavs started 1-23, and by the end of January they were 3-40.

The possibility of finishing with the all-time worst record once again was a likelihood for the Mavs. But 5-9 records in February and April, coupled with Buckner loosening the reins on his team a little bit, helped the Mavs finish 13-69. It was still by far the worst record in the league, but the Mavericks again avoided setting an all-time futility record.

At season's end, Buckner was fired as head coach, and the Mavericks brought back Dick Motta, who'd previously coached the team from 1980-87 and led the franchise to some of its most successful seasons. The Mavericks also wound up with the #2 pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, and picked up Cal point guard Jason Kidd, giving them a solid tandem of Jackson, Mashburn and Kidd which would become known as "The Three J's".

The Three J's Give Dallas Hope

The addition of Jason Kidd infused the Mavericks with new life in 1994-95. Kidd averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists in his rookie season, and even led the league in triple-doubles. Roy Tarpley returned from his drug abuse suspension after three years and helped with 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

The tandem of Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn combined as the league's highest-scoring pair of teammates. Mashburn contributed 24.1 points per game, fifth in the NBA; Jackson averaged 25.7 points, but suffered a severe ankle sprain in Februrary which caused him to miss the remainder of the regular season.

Second-year forward Popeye Jones had a great year as well, as he averaged 10.6 rebounds and led the NBA in offensive rebounds.

And the Mavericks' improvement was dramatic. They jumped to 36-46, 10th in the Western Conference and only five games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot. It was the biggest one-year improvement in the team's history, and the highest in the NBA that season. Of course, it can be argued that the Mavericks really couldn't get any worse than their disastrous campaign of the previous year.

Many expected the Mavericks' improvement to continue with the franchise's first foray into the NBA Playoffs since 1990. But despite a 4-0 start, the 1995-96 season was a disappointment in about every conceivable way.

For the second time in his career, Roy Tarpley was given a lifelong ban from the NBA for repeated violations of the anti-drug policy-- this one would stick, and Tarpley never played in the NBA again. Jamal Mashburn had season-ending surgery to repair his sore right knee only 18 games into the Mavericks' schedule.

The team's two remaining stars, Jason Kidd and Jim Jackson, bickered throughout the season, though neither of them had any trouble establishing his individual stardom. Jackson led the team in scoring with 19.6 ppg, made 121 three-pointers and was the only Mav to start in all 82 games. Kidd became the first Maverick to be elected a starter in the NBA All-Star Game, and finished second in the league in assists and fourth in steals while averaging 16.6 ppg.

George McCloud, who averaged 9.6 ppg in his previous year, blew away his career-high scoring average as the Mavs resorted to the outside shot time and again due to their lack of an inside scoring threat. McCloud averaged 18.9 ppg and made 257 three-pointers, equaling the second-highest individual season total in league history.

Overall, the Mavericks connected on 735 of their 2,039 three-point attempts, both new league records. But that particular statistic is more indicative of the Mavs' desperation to get points from somewhere than of how well they did as a team.

The Mavs finished 26-56, fifth in the Midwest Division and 33 games out of first place. At season's end, Dick Motta was relieved of his head coaching responsibilities and replaced by former Bulls assistant coach Jim Cleamons. And Don Carter, the only owner the Mavericks had ever had, sold the team to a group of investors led by Ross Perot, Jr..

Starting Over

The 1996-97 season was a year of transition for the Mavericks, as they basically re-designed their entire team. 27 different players saw action for this Dallas team, setting an all-time NBA record. By the time the season was over, only Derek Harper and rookie forward Samaki Walker remained from the opening-day roster.

The first big move came in December, as Jason Kidd, Loren Meyer and Tony Dumas were traded to the Phoenix Suns for guards Michael Finley and Sam Cassell and forward A.C. Green. By far the most important of these acquisitions was Finley who, after his first half-season in Dallas, would go on to average over or near 20 ppg for at least the next seven years of his Mavericks career. He made two visits to the NBA All-Star Game, and even played in each of the Mavs' games until the 2001-02 season.

Don Nelson was hired as Dallas' general manager on February 7, and it didn't take him long to leave his own mark on the team. Within a week of his hiring, the Mavs had released Fred Roberts and Oliver Miller and traded Jamal Mashburn to the Miami Heat for forwards Kurt Thomas and Martin Mrsepp and guard Sasha Danilovic.

This particular trade didn't really pan out for the Mavs. Thomas didn't play in 1996-97, and only ended up playing in five games as a Maverick before signing as a free agent with the New York Knicks. Danilovic played in 13 games for the Mavs before opting out of his contract and signing with Bucker Bologna of the Italian League. And Muursepp played in 73 games for the Mavericks over the next two years before leaving the NBA.

Chris Gatling was the Mavericks' sole representative in the NBA All-Star Game, but he didn't last much longer in Dallas. In one of the largest two-team trades in NBA history, the Mavericks traded Chris Gatling, Jim Jackson, Sam Cassell, George McCloud and Eric Montross to the New Jersey Nets for 7'6" center Shawn Bradley, forward Ed O'Bannon and guards Khalid Reeves and Robert Pack. Bradley would spend part of the next eight years putting up modest contributions for the Mavs and giving them solid numbers in terms of blocked shots.

Undrafted rookie guard Erick Strickland was a pleasant surprise for the Mavs as he averaged 10.6 ppg. He, along with Finley and Bradley, were expected to be the core of this new Mavericks team.

Unfortunately, the constant changes made it impossible to establish any sort of team chemistry in '96-'97, and the Mavericks finished 24-58. But they'd acquired some of the pieces that would help them start to turn things around in years to come.

In the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, the Mavericks finished with a lowly 19-31 record, but Michael Finley and Gary Trent put up solid numbers and led their team to their first winning home record (15-10) for the first time since 1989-90. Noteable were the acquisitions of power forward Dirk Nowitzki and point guard Steve Nash, two seemingly unspectacular moves which would make a great impact in the future.

In the following season the team finally "clicked" and started to win on a consistent basis. Led by Finley, the Mavericks earned their first 40-win season since 1989-90. He was greatly helped by Nowitzki, who finally "arrived" in the NBA and established himself as a potent offensive threat.

In 2000-2001, the Mavericks improved further and finished with an impressive 53-29 record, fueled by an impressive offensive triangle of Nowitzki, Finley and Nash. The Mavs made a blockbuster trade minutes before the trade deadline that sent Hubert Davis, Christian Laettner, Courtney Alexander and Etan Thomas to the Washington Wizards for Juwan Howard, Calvin Booth and Obinna Ekezie. This move brought in fresh blood that secured the clubs first playoff visit in 11 years. In the playoffs, the Mavericks won the first round against the Utah Jazz, advancing to the second round for the first time since 1988. This was also the last season in the old Reunion Arena before making the move to the modern American Airlines Center.

The best offense in the NBA

The 2001-2002 season was a great season for the Mavericks, with a 57-25 record and many sellout crowds in the American Airlines Center. Another blockbuster trade sent Juwan Howard, Tim Hardaway and Donnell Harvey to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Raef LaFrentz, Nick Van Exel, Tariq Abdul-Wahad and Avery Johnson. The Mavericks swept the Minnesota Timberwolves in the playoffs but lost again in the second round, this time to the Sacramento Kings.

But it was only in the next season when the Mavericks finally broke through. They finished 60-22 in the regular season, astonishing fans and critics with their sparkling offense. The "Big Three" Nowitzki-Finley-Nash were a 100-point-game waiting to happen and led the Mavericks into the Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. However, lacking an adequate inside defense (i.e. a good center), the Mavericks lost 2-4.

In 2003-2004, two blockbuster trades were announced. The Mavericks acquired Antawn Jamison, Danny Fortson, Jiri Welsch and Chris Mills from Golden State in exchange for Nick Van Exel, Evan Eschmeyer, Popeye Jones, Avery Johnson and Antoine Rigaudeau. Another high-profile trade sent Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills and Jiri Welsch to Boston for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. Although the team struggled for chemistry, the Mavericks easily qualified for the playoffs. With the trio Nowitzki-Finley-Nash and NBAs Sixth Man of the Year, Jamison, the Mavericks continued their reputation as the best offensive team in the NBA. Notable were two rookies, Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels, who made an immediate impact. However, the Mavericks were eliminated quickly the playoffs, losing in the first round to the Sacramento Kings, a team which played clearly better defense. The Mavericks management had to re-evaluate their strategy.

The present

The 2004-2005 brought in blockbuster trades which (among others) sent All-Star point guard Steve Nash to the Phoenix Suns but brought in burly center Erick Dampier, combo guard Jason Terry and defensive stalwart Alan Henderson. Although the absence of Nash visibly hurt the Mavericks' offense, the three acquisitions strenghened the team defense. The run-and-gun style of former times changed into a more balanced style of play. At the All-Star break, the Mavericks acquired Keith Van Horn for Calvin Booth and Henderson, the latter being resigned only days later.

On March 19, long-time coach Don Nelson resigned, and his assistant Avery Johnson became his successor. Under his tutelage, the defense of the Mavericks became stronger, and they easily qualified for the playoffs with an impressive 58-24 record.

The Mavericks defeated the Houston Rockets in Round 1 of the playoffs in 7 games. The Phoenix Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks 4 games to 2 in a very close series in which the final game was decided by only 4 points in overtime.

Current Roster (updated April 25, 2005)

Starters

Bench

Injured Reserve

Players of note

Basketball Hall of Famers:

Not to be forgotten:

Retired numbers:

Current roster (updated May 8, 2005)

Starters

Second-string

Injured reserve

Coach

External links


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