|Overall | Team Name | 1979 | 1980-81 1981-82 | 1982-83 | 1983-85 | 1985-86 1986-87 | 1987-88 | 1988-90 | 1990-91 1991-92 | 1992-93 | 1993-94 | 1994-95 1995-96 | 1996-97 | 1997-98 | 1998-99 1999-2000 | 2000-01 | 2001-02 | 2002-03 2003-04 | | 2004-05 | 2005-06 | Timeline | Rosters American Airlines Center Firsts|
Retired Uniform Numbers:
(15) Brad Davis
(22) Rolando Blackman
Year by Year Record:
Mavericks' Roller-Coaster Ride Has Seen Plenty Of Thrills And SpillsThe Dallas Mavericks joined the NBA in 1980-81 and quickly became a competitive franchise. With premium draft selections the team steadily improved through the 1980s-Dallas looked like a team of the future. Then in the early 1990s the Mavericks experienced one of the most precipitous declines in NBA history. The team's descent was so complete that it twice threatened the worst single-season record ever recorded. But with a solid core of young, talented players, the Mavericks should be able to start climbing their way back up the NBA ladder.
Before welcoming the Mavericks in 1980, Dallas had been home to the Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association from 1967-68 to 1972-73. On March 26, 1973, the Chaparrals played the Carolina Cougars in the last ABA game played at Dallas Memorial Auditorium-the paid attendance was 134. The next season the Chaparrals became the San Antonio Spurs, and for the next seven years Dallas was without a professional basketball franchise.
1979: Carter Welcomes Back Basketball To DallasIn 1979 millionaire Donald J. Carter and Mavericks founding President/GM Norm Sonju set the wheels in motion to secure an NBA team. At the 1980 NBA All-Star Game league owners voted to admit the Texas franchise. For a $12 million entry fee, Dallas was in for the 1980-81 season. The Mavericks would play in the NBA's Midwest Division.
In the expansion draft the Mavericks bypassed experienced stars such as Earl Monroe, Rick Barry, Doug Collins, Pete Maravich, and Spencer Haywood. Instead the franchise went with youth-18 of the 22 players chosen by Dallas had less than three years of NBA experience. Although there was some talent-11 of the expansion picks were former first-round draft choices-it was a typical expansion crew. Among the recognizable names were Jim Spanarkel from the Philadelphia 76ers, Austin Carr from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bingo Smith from the San Diego Clippers, and Richard Washington from the Milwaukee Bucks.
On June 10, 1980, the Mavericks selected UCLA's Kiki Vandeweghe with the 11th overall pick in the NBA Draft, making Vandeweghe the first college draftee in franchise history. But Vandeweghe refused to play for the expansion Mavericks, staging a holdout that lasted more than a month into the 1980-81 season. Finally, on December 10, Dallas traded his rights and a 1986 first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for two future first-round draft choices.
The trade served the Mavericks extremely well. They used one of the picks to draft Rolando Blackman in 1981-Blackman became the team's all-time leading scorer. In another move that would pay huge dividends, Dallas traded Mike Bratz to Cleveland for the Cavaliers' 1984 first-round draft choice. Dallas used that pick in 1984 to select Sam Perkins, who gave the club six solid seasons at power forward and center.
The Mavericks' best move was the hiring of Dick Motta as the club's first head coach. A good teacher and a basketball disciplinarian, Motta had arrived in the NBA as coach of the 1968-69 Chicago Bulls and transformed the club into a winner. After Chicago's 51-31 finish in 1970-71, Motta was named NBA Coach of the Year. He left Chicago following the 1975-76 season to coach the Washington Bullets, guiding them to the NBA title in 1978. Motta arrived in Dallas with a 541-443 NBA coaching record.
1980-81: A Slow StartThe Mavericks opened the 1980-81 season in the posh new $27 million Reunion Arena. The opening-night lineup included Abdul Jeelani, Jerome Whitehead, Tom LaGarde, Geoff Huston, and Winford Boynes. Dallas upset the San Antonio Spurs, 103-92, in the team's debut contest. Jeelani scored the first points in franchise history; Boynes led Dallas with 21 points, while LaGarde added 19 points and 14 rebounds.
The rest of the season saw the losses mount with discouraging frequency, even for an expansion club. The Mavericks started 6-40 and suffered losing streaks of 10 and 12 games before they managed to win two in a row. On November 8, in a game against the Detroit Pistons, Motta joined Red Auerbach, Red Holzman, and Gene Shue on the list of coaches to log 1,000 career NBA games. Ironically, Motta missed the fourth quarter of his 1,000th game after being ejected. The Mavericks lost that contest, 101-73.
Dallas did have some good fortune. In early December the club signed free agent Brad Davis, a 6-3 guard who had been waived by the Detroit Pistons. Davis didn't seem markedly different from the rest of the Mavericks' journeyman talent, having already pulled several undistinguished stints on NBA and Continental Basketball Association rosters. The Mavericks tracked him down in the CBA, playing with the Anchorage Northern Knights. To Davis, the idea of playing with Dallas wasn't much more appealing than playing with Anchorage; he had planned to finish the season and go back to school.
Instead Davis appeared in 56 games that season for the Mavericks, starting the final 26. He tied Jeelani for the Mavericks' best individual scoring effort of the year with 31 points against the Boston Celtics on March 3, and he led Dallas in assists (6.9 apg) and field-goal percentage (.561). His career revitalized, Davis became an integral component of the Mavericks' roster for the next 12 seasons.
Dallas finished its first NBA campaign with a 15-67 record. The Mavericks scored 101.5 points per game, which would remain a team low for a decade. Jim Spanarkel led the club in scoring with 14.4 points per game and was fourth in the NBA with an .887 free-throw percentage. Tom LaGarde topped Mavericks rebounders with 8.1 boards per contest.
1981-82: Promising Draft Lifts Mavs' HopesVarious deals netted Dallas nine first-round draft picks over the next five years, which brought such top-flight players as Sam Perkins, Derek Harper, Roy Tarpley, and Detlef Schrempf. But the immediate challenge was the 1981 NBA Draft, and Dallas selected three players who transformed the team from a doormat into a challenger-Mark Aguirre (with the first overall pick), Rolando Blackman (9th), and Jay Vincent (24th).
In 1981-82 Dallas improved its record by 13 games to 28-54 and climbed out of the Midwest Division cellar to finish above the Utah Jazz. The Mavericks opened the season with a fashion change-green road uniforms replacing the previous year's blue. Aguirre scored 19 points in his first regular-season game. On November 14 he hit for 42 points, but the Mavericks still lost (for a seventh straight time) to the Golden State Warriors. Dallas's losing streak would stretch to a season-worst 12 games. Considering that the Mavericks opened the campaign 1-13, the rest of the year brought impressive improvement.
Aguirre, a 6-6 forward who was a threat to score every time he touched the ball, was one key to the team's growing success. In his seven-plus seasons in Dallas he averaged 24.6 points. Fellow rookie Blackman, a 6-6 guard with a sweet shooting touch, also embarked on a long and productive career with the Mavericks. Over his 11 seasons with the team he averaged 19.2 points and proved to be a solid defender.
On December 15 Vincent, a 6-7 forward, started in place of Aguirre and led the Mavericks to victory over Washington by scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. It marked the first of 15 30-point games for Vincent during the season. He scored a career-high 41 points in a December 29 win over the Kansas City Kings.
Dallas put together a modest four-game winning streak in January , an encouraging sign for the young team. Vincent continued to score at a torrid pace, and reserve guard Allan Bristow (who later became a coach in the NBA) provided able all-around support. By the end of January the Mavericks had rebounded from their horrendous 1-13 start; after those first 14 games they turned in a respectable 12-15 performance. They couldn't sustain momentum for the duration of the season, but they were showing promise. For the year, Vincent led the team in scoring with 21.4 points per game and was selected to the NBA All-Rookie Team. Aguirre added 18.7 points per contest.
1982-83: A Team To Reckon WithDuring the 1982-83 season the Mavericks gave indications that they were a team on the move. They finished at 38-44, 10 games better than the previous year and the third-best improvement in the NBA. Even more telling, the league was beginning to view the Mavericks not as an expansion team but as a dangerous opponent.
On January 14, just 10 days after totaling only 84 points in a loss at Washington, the Mavericks broke the club's single-game scoring record in a 149-139 win over Denver. Rolando Blackman's 31 points led the charge, while Mark Aguirre collected the first triple-double in franchise history with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists. Dallas defeated Golden State on January 18, making Motta the fifth NBA coach to log 600 career wins. Four days later the Mavericks humbled Utah, 126-88; the 38-point win was Dallas's largest margin of victory ever. Four days later the Mavs concluded a five-game winning streak with a victory over the Kansas City Kings.
The Mavericks continued to roll as Aguirre scored 44 points to key a February 6 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Heading into the All-Star break Dallas had won 12 of its last 15 games and had climbed into second place in the Midwest Division with a 25-24 record.
The team fell off its cloud in the second half of the season. The Mavericks were challenging for a playoff spot until they went into a seven-game slump with two weeks left in the stretch run. Out of the playoffs, Dallas rolled over in the final game of the year, watching the San Antonio Spurs run to an NBA-record .707 shooting percentage and a 132-120 victory.
Despite the disappointing finish, 1982-83 had been a season of promise for Dallas. The Mavericks ranked fifth in the league in team scoring (112.7 ppg) and committed fewer turnovers (16.4 per game) than any other team. Mark Aguirre paced Dallas in scoring with 24.4 points per game, sixth in the NBA; he was backed by Jay Vincent (18.7 ppg) and Rolando Blackman (17.7). Brad Davis placed among the league's top 10 in three categories-eighth in field-goal percentage (.572, the best ever by a guard), 10th in assists (7.2 apg), and sixth in free-throw percentage (.845).
The franchise strengthened its young roster in the 1983 NBA Draft by selecting Derek Harper, a 6-4 guard from the University of Illinois. Harper went on to average 15.0 points and 6.1 assists over the next decade.
1983-85: Dallas Sees Postseason For First TimeIn 1983-84 the Mavericks achieved their first winning season, finishing 43-39 and second to Utah in the Midwest Division. Now in its fourth season, Dallas also made its first playoff appearance and came away with moderate success.
The Mavericks got off to a hot start in November with a 10-3 record (the best month in club history), which included 9 straight wins at home. On November 17 Dallas began a team-record eight-game winning streak. Aguirre scored 40 points in consecutive games against the Golden State Warriors and the San Diego Clippers on December 10 and December 11. He also became the first All-Star in franchise history when he appeared in the 1984 NBA All-Star Game.
The Mavs continued to impress with their firepower. In a March 24 game against Denver, Aguirre scored 24 first-quarter points, finishing the game with 46, while Blackman added 38. In early April little-used rookie guard Dale Ellis set an NBA record by hitting 8 consecutive three-pointers, spread over several games.
For the season, Aguirre averaged 29.5 points and ranked second in the NBA in scoring to Utah's Adrian Dantley (30.6 ppg). Blackman was 13th with 22.4 points per game, and Brad Davis ranked 10th in assists with 6.9 per contest. For the second consecutive campaign Dallas committed the fewest turnovers in the league, with 15.9 per game.
Although the Mavericks ended the 1983-84 season with a loss at Golden State, they had already clinched the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the team's initial postseason experience, Dallas defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in a best-of-five first-round series, winning Game 5 in overtime, 105-104. The Mavericks then drew the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals, and the Finals-bound Lakers won in five games.
Thanks to a 1980 trade, Dallas owned Cleveland's first-round pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Because Cleveland went 28-54 in 1983-84, the Mavericks found themselves picking fourth. They selected 6-9 Sam Perkins from the University of North Carolina, one pick after the Chicago Bulls had selected another Tar Heels player named Michael Jordan. Perkins, who had helped North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA Championship, brought an effective, deceptively laid-back game to the NBA. He averaged 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds in six seasons with the Mavericks, moved on to help the Lakers in the waning years of the Magic Johnson dynasty, and landed in Seattle for the SuperSonics' run in the 1990s.
The 1984-85 Mavericks finished a single game better than the previous season at 44-38, marking the fourth consecutive year of improvement. Perkins made the NBA All-Rookie Team and Mark Aguirre once again led the Dallas scoring parade with 25.7 points per game. On January 28 Aguirre broke his own team record by pouring in 49 points against Philadelphia. Rolando Blackman represented the franchise in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game. Motta became the fourth NBA coach to win 700 games when Dallas downed the New Jersey Nets, 126-113, on March 10.
Dallas had talented players, but a major key to its success was that the Mavs stayed healthy all year. For the third straight season the Mavericks led the league in fewest turnovers, this time with an NBA-record low of 14.4 per game. Their 152 three-pointers were also an NBA best, another trend that would become a characteristic of the team.
Dallas made its second consecutive postseason appearance in 1985 but was a first-round victim of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavericks notched a thrilling double-overtime victory in Game 1 of the best-of-five series, but the Blazers roared back to win three straight.
1985-86: Dallas Drafts Detlef, Deals For DonaldsonIn 1985-86 Dallas notched another 44-38 record while continuing to develop into a contender. The club had added another piece to its growing talent pool with the selection of Detlef Schrempf in the 1985 NBA Draft. Once again the pick was the result of an earlier trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A multidimensional 6-10 forward, the German-born Schrempf had played collegiately at the University of Washington. In addition, after shuffling through six opening-day centers in as many seasons, the Mavericks acquired 7-2 center James Donaldson from the Los Angeles Clippers on November 25 in exchange for Kurt Nimphius.
Dallas hosted the 1986 NBA All-Star Game, and Rolando Blackman represented the team in the midseason classic for the second straight year. Blackman scored a career-best 46 points against the Sacramento Kings on March 12, second on the all-time Dallas scoring list to Mark Aguirre's 49 points the previous year.
A high-scoring outfit, the Mavericks averaged 115.3 points, second in the NBA to the powerful Los Angeles Lakers. The individual scoring was more balanced than in previous seasons: Aguirre (22.6 ppg) and Blackman (21.5) paced the squad, with Sam Perkins, Jay Vincent, and Derek Harper also averaging in double figures. Donaldson ranked ninth in the NBA in rebounding, grabbing 9.6 boards per game. For the fourth straight year the Mavericks led the league in fewest turnovers, and for the second straight year they finished first in three-pointers made.
Dallas eliminated Utah in the first round of the 1986 NBA Playoffs, then encountered the title-bound Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers won the series in six games, four of which were decided by four points or less.
The Mavericks picked big Roy Tarpley in the 1986 NBA Draft. The 7-foot forward from the University of Michigan turned out to be one of the better players in franchise annals-and the saddest story.
1986-87: Team Tops 50 Wins; Crumbles in PostseasonIn 1986-87 the Mavericks served notice that they had arrived as an elite team in the NBA, with a versatile young roster that seemed to presage years of future success. Dallas posted a best-ever 55-27 record and won the Midwest Division.
The season started on a defensive note when Dallas walloped opening-night opponent Utah while holding the Jazz to a .311 field-goal percentage. A week later Dallas drilled Seattle, 147-124, as a club-record nine Mavericks scored in double figures. On November 26 the always careful Mavericks tied their own NBA record with only 4 turnovers against the Sacramento Kings. Their 13-1 start at home was the best in team history.
Dallas's lineup had settled into a starting unit of Mark Aguirre, Sam Perkins, James Donaldson, Derek Harper, and Rolando Blackman, with Detlef Schrempf, Roy Tarpley, and Brad Davis coming off the bench. The team was talented and versatile at every position, presenting problems for almost all NBA opponents. In January, Schrempf recorded the third triple-double in team history. In March, Donaldson surpassed Jay Vincent's 1984-85 single-season record of 704 rebounds. March proved to be the team's best month ever at 12-4, including Dick Motta's 800th career win on March 28 against Washington.
As always, the Mavericks protected the ball-for the fifth straight year they led the NBA in fewest turnovers, with 14.7 per game. As teams throughout the league began to use the three-point shot as a regular part of offensive strategy and not just as a gimmick or bailout, Dallas continued to lead the pack in treys. The Mavericks made 231 three-pointers and averaged 116.7 points. Donaldson shattered the club rebounding record and led all NBA centers with 11.9 boards per game.
Dallas, which hadn't lost more than two games in a row during the season, melted under playoff pressure. In the opening game against Seattle the Mavericks set 11 club playoff records in a 151-129 victory. Then the wheels came off as Dallas dropped three straight to the Sonics, who were led in scoring by former Mavericks player Dale Ellis, reborn in Seattle as one of the NBA's top three-point marksmen.
After the 1986-87 season Dick Motta unexpectedly resigned as head coach, and the reins were turned over to John MacLeod. MacLeod had coached the previous 14 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, compiling a 579-543 record. He had guided the Suns to the playoffs nine times and to the NBA Finals in 1976.
1987-88: One Game Shy of the FinalsThe 1987-88 Mavericks maintained the pace they had set the previous season, slipping only two games in the victory column to a 53-29 record. MacLeod collected his 600th career victory on January 13 when Dallas beat the Indiana Pacers, with Roy Tarpley grabbing 23 rebounds in the game. Mark Aguirre and James Donaldson played in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game in February. Then, beginning on February 14, the Mavericks ran off a club-record 11-game winning streak. On February 24, during the sixth game of the streak, Blackman scored his 10,000th career point.
With an April 15 loss, Dallas fell out of first place in the Midwest Division for the first time since December 21. After 110 days at the top, the club was displaced by Denver and finished the year one game behind the Nuggets.
For the sixth consecutive season Aguirre led the team in scoring, with 25.1 points per game. Tarpley won the NBA Sixth Man Award by averaging 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Dallas enjoyed its finest postseason run in 1988. After dumping the Houston Rockets in four games and Denver in six, the Mavericks found themselves in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history. All that stood between Dallas and the NBA Finals were the defending NBA-champion Lakers. The Mavericks gave the Lakers all they could handle in the series, but Los Angeles's playoff experience prevailed. The Lakers won the seventh and deciding game, 117-102.
1988-90: Mavericks Miss Playoffs; RegroupInjuries plagued the 1988-89 Mavericks, who saw their record tumble to 38-44. It was Dallas's first losing season and first time out of the playoffs since 1982-83. The Mavericks started the campaign 9-3 before chaos descended. By January the team was beginning to swerve out of control. Roy Tarpley was suspended indefinitely on January 5 for violating the league's antidrug policy. A week later the disoriented Mavericks lost their sixth straight game.
In mid-February the Mavericks sent Mark Aguirre to the soon-to-be NBA champion Detroit Pistons in exchange for Adrian Dantley. Both were superbly talented players with reputations for moodiness. When Dantley heard about the trade he refused to report to Dallas, although he finally showed up eight days later. While Dantley was still holding out, Dallas traded Detlef Schrempf to Indiana for Herb Williams. The versatile Schrempf eventually won two NBA Sixth Man Awards with the Pacers before joining a talent-laden Seattle team in 1993.
On March 10 James Donaldson went down with a ruptured patella tendon, was carried off the floor on a stretcher, and missed the rest of the season. The decimated Dallas team had lost several key players, had suffered emotional turmoil, and had a tough time regaining its mental focus. The remainder of the year (which included a 12-game losing streak in March) was simply time spent waiting for the offseason.
The Mavericks bounced back in 1989-90, returning to the playoffs with a 47-35 record. Dallas was still a solid, talented, defense-minded team, with a roster that included Adrian Dantley, Herb Williams, Roy Tarpley, Sam Perkins, Rolando Blackman, and Derek Harper.
However, it was another tumultuous season. On November 15, six games into the schedule, Tarpley was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. After 11 games and a 5-6 record, Coach John MacLeod was replaced by Assistant Coach Richie Adubato. The team struggled to midseason but then put together modest winning streaks of seven, five, and six games. Harper scored a career-high 42 points on December 29 against Portland. Donaldson, Dallas's all-time leading rebounder, pulled down 27 boards in the same game.
The team surged at the end of the year. On April 4 the Mavericks tied the biggest comeback in club history, surging from 19 points down to defeat the San Antonio Spurs. Sam Perkins scored a career-high 45 points on April 12 to lead Dallas to a win at Golden State. The Mavericks closed out the season with four straight victories, then drew the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs. The Blazers blitzed Dallas in three straight on their way to the NBA Finals.
1990-91: A Fall From ContentionAfter a strong showing in 1989-90, the debacle of 1988-89 appeared to have been nothing more than a brief detour. The Mavs seemed to be back on track; however, the track would prove to lead right off the edge of a cliff. All NBA teams evolve through cycles of success, decline, and rebuilding, but this was different. The Mavericks went into a free fall the likes of which have seldom been seen in the NBA. Within a couple of seasons they would be one of the worst teams in the league, not even competitive with a new flock of expansion franchises, and flirting with league records for futility.
The Mavericks' roster continued to change. Sam Perkins went to the Lakers as a free agent in 1990, and Rodney McCray, Fat Lever, and Alex English-all near the ends of their careers-made their first Mavericks appearances. Virtually all of the remaining starters suffered injuries in 1990-91, and the team plummeted to 28-54, a record which was bettered by both the expansion Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The team's problems began early. On November 6 Roy Tarpley led the Mavericks to a victory over the New York Knicks by scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Three nights later it was announced that Fat Lever would have surgery on his right knee and be lost for the year. In that night's game Tarpley went down with a kneecap injury and was also lost for the season. With Tarpley and Lever out, the club fell into a nosedive.
On November 28 Rolando Blackman passed Mark Aguirre to become Dallas's all-time leading scorer. That milestone was barely noticed amid the tumult of the season. In March the Tarpley story took another unfortunate turn. He was charged with suspicion of driving while intoxicated and was again suspended by the NBA.
1991-92: Rebuilding BeginsThe 1991-92 season was another struggle as the Mavericks fell to 22-60. On October 16 Tarpley was banned from the NBA for violating the league's substance abuse policy for a third time. It was a sad turn of events for a man whose career had once held great promise. Tarpley had been voted to the 1986-87 NBA All-Rookie Team and initially sought treatment following that season. In 1987-88 he won the NBA Sixth Man Award, averaging 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds. In the middle of the 1988-89 campaign he was suspended for 49 games. He missed the final 77 games of the 1990-91 season after injuring his right knee. Tarpley played in only 69 of 246 games from 1989-90 through 1991-92 because of injuries and suspensions. During that time the Mavericks were 45-24 (.652) with him and 68-109 (.384) without him.
The team had only a handful of good players left, and what talent it did have was diluted by a rash of injuries. A back problem ended Brad Davis's career in mid-January. Fat Lever had knee surgery on January 29 and missed the rest of the season. During his prime years with the Denver Nuggets he had been one of the league's most versatile players at the guard spot. But Lever, who had cost the Mavericks two first-round draft picks, played only 35 games in three seasons because of knee injuries.
All of the team records set during the season were unwanted ones: a 15-game losing streak in March; a 26-game road losing streak; an all-time team-low and NBA season-worst 97.6 points per game; a franchise-worst .439 field-goal percentage. Dallas was held to fewer than 90 points 19 times. Recognizing a pattern, the franchise began unloading its veterans and started to rebuild.
Prior to the 1992-93 season Dallas sent Rolando Blackman to the New York Knicks in exchange for a first-round draft pick. Blackman departed the Mavericks as the most popular player in franchise history and the team's all-time leading scorer. In 11 seasons with Dallas, Blackman had scored 16,643 points (19.2 ppg) and had made four All-Star Game appearances.
Herb Williams went to New York via free agency. And Fat Lever underwent more surgery and missed the entire 1992-93 season. The only remnant of the team's glory days was 10-year veteran Derek Harper, who led the Mavericks in scoring in 1992-93 with 18.2 points per game.
1992-93: Mavericks Escape Futility MarkDallas banked its future on young players, not the least of whom was Jim Jackson, selected by the Mavericks with the fourth overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. But Jackson and owner Donald Carter could not agree on contract terms, resulting in a prolonged holdout that kept Jackson off the team for more than half the season.
With its veterans gone and its young players yet to arrive, Dallas simply did not have the talent or experience to be competitive in the NBA in 1992-93. After a run of successful draft picks in the early years of the franchise, the Mavericks had hit a slump in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Top 10 selections such as Doug Smith and Randy White, while competent NBA players, did not become the superstars many had predicted they would be.
So, with a roster depleted by trades, injuries, and a contract dispute, the Mavericks stumbled through the 1992-93 season. It was a nightmarish campaign, with losing streaks of 12, 15, and 19 games. On January 13, with the Mavs' record at 2-27, Richie Adubato was fired as coach and replaced by Assistant Coach Gar Heard. Heard won his first game six days later, snapping a 15-game losing streak.
As the season wound down, suspense built as the Mavericks came dangerously close to posting the worst record in league history. The yardstick was the 9-73 mark turned in by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1972-73; after 61 games Dallas stood at 4-57.
However, the signing of Jackson on March 3, coupled with the announcement that Quinn Buckner would take over as coach the next season, gave the team the emotional boost necessary to avoid infamy. Jackson appeared in the Mavericks' last 28 games, averaging 16.3 points. In the final 21 contests he helped the team to a 7-14 record, including two straight victories to close out the year and finish at 11-71.
1993-94: Team Tabs Quinn But Doesn't WinThe reins were turned over to Quinn Buckner for 1993-94. An intelligent performer, Buckner had always played for winners, beginning in college at the University of Indiana and then continuing in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers. Although his statistics were modest in his NBA seasons, Buckner's teams compiled a .619 winning percentage. The hope was that some of his winning attitude would rub off on his squad.
The Mavericks selected the University of Kentucky's Jamal Mashburn with the fourth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. The versatile, 6-8 forward was expected to provide frontcourt scoring and team with Jackson to form a solid nucleus. Still, Dallas faced a long, steep climb to erase its reputation as the league's doormat.
The NBA continued to wipe its feet on the Mavericks in 1993-94. With Jackson and Mashburn on board, the team appeared to be in better shape and did show a modicum of improvement. However, Buckner's strict style didn't catch on initially, and Dallas limped to a 1-23 start and a 3-40 record by the end of January.
With the specter of compiling the worst record in history looming once again, pressure mounted on the Mavericks. Buckner eased up, and the team responded with loose yet sometimes energetic play. The Mavericks went 5-8 in both February and April to finish at 13-69. They had the Minnesota Timberwolves to thank for saving them from infamy-Dallas notched 5 of its 13 victories against the Wolves.
Despite the difficult season, the Mavericks' two young guns showed signs of future greatness. Mashburn led all NBA rookies with an average of 19.2 points per game, and Jackson exhibited triple-double potential, leading the team in assists (4.6 apg), tying Mashburn in scoring, and finishing second on the squad in rebounding (4.7 rpg).
At the end of the season Dallas management fired Buckner and brought back Dick Motta, the franchise's first head coach and the architect of its successful teams of the 1980s. The Mavericks also added another big-time talent, nabbing University of California point guard Jason Kidd with the second overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. Return to top of page
1994-95: New Kidd Sparks Mavs TurnaroundThe Mavericks moved forward dramatically in 1994-95. After having gone 13-69 the previous season, Dallas posted a 23-game improvement and finished at 36-46, the biggest turnaround in club history and the greatest improvement in the NBA for the season. The 36 wins were 12 more than the Mavericks had managed in the previous two seasons combined.
A major catalyst for the turnaround was rookie point guard Jason Kidd, who led the NBA in triple-doubles with 4 and averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists on the year. For his efforts, Kidd was named co-Rookie of the Year along with the Detroit Pistons' Grant Hill. Kidd finished 10th in the league in assists and 7th in steals. In Dallas's 156-147 double-overtime win over the Houston Rockets on April 11, Kidd registered a triple-double (including 38 points) and hit a trio of three-pointers in the final 55 seconds of the first overtime.
Kidd was part of a core of young and talented Mavericks players that also included Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn, who combined as the league's highest-scoring pair of teammates. Both led players at their position for much of the year. The youthful Mashburn finished fifth in the NBA with an average of 24.1 points per game. Jackson severely sprained his ankle in February and missed the remainder of the campaign; although he averaged 25.7 points, he didn't score enough points to qualify for the leaderboard.
Second-year forward Popeye Jones also had a fine year. His average of 10.6 rebounds per game was good enough for 10th in the NBA. Jones snatched 329 offensive rebounds, more than any other NBA player. Roy Tarpley, who had been banned from the league in 1991 for violating its antidrug program, was reinstated by the NBA prior to the 1994-95 season. He rejoined the Mavericks and contributed 12.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
1995-96: Carter, Motta Era Ends in Disappointment
After showing such promise in 1994-95, the Mavericks suffered a disappointing 95-96 campaign that resulted in only 26 wins, the end of Dick Motta's second tenure with the Mavericks, and the first ownership change in team history.
Before the season, several players talked about taking the next step forward in their rebuilding - a trip to the postseason. A 4-0 start seemed to back up their words. But injuries, the lack of an inside presence, the absence of veteran leadership and internal strife all helped seal the Mavericks' fate.
After only 18 games, Jamal Mashburn's season ended when he had surgery to repair a sore left knee. Jackson and Kidd sometimes had trouble getting along, but neither had trouble establishing himself as a star. Kidd became the first Maverick to start in an All-Star Game, and finished the season second in the NBA in assists (9.7) and fourth in steals (2.2). Jackson led the team in scoring (19.6) and was the only Maverick to play in all 82 games.
In the absence of an inside threat, the Mavericks offense degenerated into a barrage of three-point shooting that helped the Mavericks set a single-season record for three-point goals made (735) and attempted (2,039). George McCloud re-emerged on the NBA scene with an average of 18.9 ppg in place of Mashburn, and connected on a 257 threes, the second best total in league history.
At season's end, Dick Motta was replaced by Bulls' assistant coach Jim Cleamons, and controlling interest in the club was sold by Donald Carter to a group of investors headed by Ross Perot, Jr., son of the former presidential candidate.
1996-97: Mavericks Revamp, Rebuild
The Mavericks began the 1996-97 with the "Three J's" and the optimism of a new head coach. By season's end, Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson all had new addresses, and Head Coach Jim Cleamons had used an NBA-record 27 players. The lack of continuity led to a 24-58 finish, but Cleamons is hopeful the Mavericks now have the ingredients in place for a winning team.
In December, the Mavericks aggresively began their pursuit of a new direction, trading Kidd, Tony Dumas and Loren Meyer to Phoenix for A.C. Green, Sam Cassell and Michael Finley. That trade, made to improve the team's chemistry, proved to be only the beginning of a complete roster overhaul.
On February 7, the team hired Don Nelson as general manager to oversee the rebuilding. Nelson wasted little time. Within a week, the team waived Oliver Miller and Fred Roberts, and traded Mashburn to Miami for Kurt Thomas, Sasha Danilovic and Martin Muursepp.
Ten days later, the Mavericks and New Jersey Nets completed one of the biggest trades in NBA history. Dallas sent Jackson, Cassell, Eric Montross, George McCloud and Chris Gatling (who days earlier represented the Mavericks in the All-Star Game) to New Jersey. In return, they received center Shawn Bradley, forward Ed O'Bannon and guards Robert Pack and Khalid Reeves.
When all was said and done, only Derek Harper and rookie Samaki Walker remained from the opening day roster. Harper, a popular one-time Maverick who re-signed as a free agent, became only the 10th player in NBA history to collect 15,000 points and 6,000 assists.
The Mavericks headed into the 1997-98 season hoping to build around a nucleus that included NBA shotblocking leader Bradley (13.2 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 3.40 bpg), Finley (15.0 ppg), Pack (14.3 ppg, 8.4 apg) and Erick Strickland, an undrafted free agent who contributed 10.3 ppg in his rookie season, eighth among all NBA rookies.
1997-98: Big Wins, But Not Enough Wins
Unfortunately, an NBA season is judged on the quantity -- not the quality -- of your wins. In the history books, the Dallas Mavericks' 1997-98 season will go down as a 20-62 campaign, but the Mavericks wowed crowds all season with wins over the unlikeliest of foes.
The Mavericks spoiled the Seattle SuperSonics' home opener on Nov. 1, outscoring Seattle 23-2 over the final 5:01 to steal the 89-81 win. On December 4, with Dallas struggling at 4-12, General Manager Don Nelson relieved Coach Jim Cleamons of his duties and took over as head coach. Nelson's debut featured another surprise showing by the Mavericks, who handily beat the 10-6 New York Knicks, 105-91, behind a team-high 27 points from Michael Finley.
Finley, the team leader in points (21.5 ppg), assists (4.9 apg) and steals (1.61 spg), was the only constant for the Mavericks during a season marked by the coaching change and an injury bug that sidelined Robert Pack and Kurt Thomas for most of the season, and also bit Shawn Bradley and Samaki Walker, Cedric Ceballos and Chris Anstey for extended periods.
Like upset wins, big nights from Finley were a trend that would continue throughout the season. Finley scored 29 (and Erick Strickland had a career-high 30) as the Sonics were victimized again, 107-98, on Jan. 20. One week later, the 25-16 Cleveland Cavaliers were the unsuspecting recipients of an 84-77 overtime loss at the hands of the Mavericks, in which Finley posted a career-high 39 points and 10 rebounds.
All of the aforementioned upsets, and later wins over Indiana, Washington and Minnesota, were just tune-ups for the main event, an improbable 104-97 overtime win over Chicago. Trailing 89-74 with 3:44 remaining, Dallas outscored the defending World Champions 17-2 down the stretch to force overtime.
The most noteworthy individual accomplishment was achieved on Nov. 20, when forward A.C. Green appeared in his 907th consecutive game, setting a new NBA record. Green, who has not missed a game since Nov. 18, 1986, was honored during the game for his streak, which stood at 978 games by season's end.
1998-99: Home, Sweet Home
For Dallas fans, each home game during the 1998-99 season was a chance to watch one of the NBA's best young players and, more often than not, to see a Mavericks victory.
Although the Mavs went 19-31, they posted a winning home record (15-10) for the first time since 1989-90. Dallas finished up strong with an 8-7 overall record in April as they beat playoff-bound teams from San Antonio, Phoenix, Minnesota and Houston (twice).
Fourth-year guard Michael Finley, a star on the rise, scored 20.2 points per game and was one of only 10 NBA players with at least 1,000 points in the lockout-shortened season. Forward Gary Trent also played well, averaging 16 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Cedric Ceballos had a solid start to the season, averaging 12.5 points in 13 games. But the veteran forward missed the rest of the season after breaking both wrists Feb. 25 against Denver.
1999-2000: Mavs Finish Strong
It's been some time since the Dallas Mavericks tasted the fruits of victory on a consistent basis. The 1999-2000 season didn't offer any promise of changing that. But what started as a season of disjointedness, injury, and confusion, finished with cohesion, health and a sense of purpose. And while Dallas failed to make the playoffs for the 10th straight season, the Mavericks tasted success and are optimismistic about reaching postseason next season.
A 30-18 finish over the season's second half, including a league-best 9-1 month of April, gave the team its first 40-win season since 1989-90.
Michael Finley is the foundation up which Dallas will do it's building. The 6-7 swingman led the league in minutes (42.2) and finished among the league leaders in scoring (11th at 22.6 ppg) and assists (20th at 5.3). He played in all 82 games, stretching his consecutive games streak to 379, second in the NBA.
The five-year veteran put up career-bests in scoring and rebounding (6.3), recorded four triple-doubles and was one of only four players to average more than 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. The others were Kevin Garnett, Grant Hill and Gary Payton.
Dirk Nowitzki made great strides in his second NBA season. The only other Mav to play all 82 games, Nowitzki finished second on the team in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg) and minutes (35.8). The athletic seven-footer shot 37.9 percent from three-point range and finished 15th in the NBA with 116 three-pointers. At NBA All-Star Weekend, Nowitzki finished second in the three-point shootout.
With the new ownership, a young nucleus, the 12th pick in this year's first-round, and the addition of Harris, Heard, and former NBA great Sidney Moncrief to the coaching staff, expectations in Dallas are, and should be, high.
2000-2001: Mavs Leave Reunion On Winning NoteThe Mavs finished up the ‘99-00 season strong and looked to continue that success for the final season in Reunion Arena. The 2000-01 campaign was the club’s most successful in over a decade as the team finished with a 53-29 record and posted the first 50-win season in 13 years (third in team history). The Mavs finished in the top five of the NBA in points per game (100.5), field goal percentage (45.9%), free-throw percentage (79.4) and three-point field goal percentage (38.1) and had the most road victories in franchise history with 25. These wins set the pace for the Mavs first-ever winning road record. In addition, the club defeated every team in the Eastern Conference at least once for the first time in franchise history.
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 helped the club secure fifth place in the Midwest Division and the club’s first playoff visit in 11 years, ending the longest playoff drought in the NBA.
As the fifth seed in the Western Conference, the Mavs were matched up against the Utah Jazz in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs. After the first two games the Mavs found themselves in a 0-2 deficit, but were prepared to fight at home for games three and four. After tying the series up at 2-2, Game Five was played in Utah.
To keep the Jazz from having complete home-court advantage, Cuban found a way to have some “Reunion Rowdies” in attendance by giving away free tickets to Mavs fans that found their way to Utah and painted themselves in Mavs colors. In an amazing, heart-stopping game the Mavs pulled off the upset and beat the Jazz, 84-83, and advanced to the Second Round for the first time since 1988. With this First Round victory, the Mavs became the sixth team in playoff history to erase a 0-2 deficit and win a five-game series.
In the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs, the Mavs took on intrastate rival San Antonio. Although the Mavs gave it a valiant effort, the Spurs took the series 4-1 and knocked the Mavs out of the playoffs.
In addition to the team’s success, there were also some individual accomplishments:
With an incredible season complete, the Mavericks helped close out Reunion Arena in a winning fashion and looked forward to showcasing the club’s talent in the team’s new home, American Airlines Center.
2001-2002: Mavs Begin New Era In New ArenaWith the 2000-01 season setting the standard for Mavericks basketball, the 2001-02 team raised the bar in their pursuit to win a championship. The season began with the opening of the brand new, state-of-the-art American Airlines Center and another record-breaking season swung into action.
The Mavs set a franchise record for 57 wins in a season and became one of four teams in the NBA to post consecutive 50-win seasons. The team also had 38 sellouts for the season (fourth most in franchise history). The club set the NBA record for fewest turnovers (averged 12.1 a game), surpassing the Pistons’ mark from 1996-97. The Mavs had the best road record in the NBA with 27 victories, led the NBA in free-throw shooting (80.6 %), average points per game (105.2) and ranked fourth in the NBA in field goal and three-point percentage.
In February, the 2002 NBA All-Star Game was held in Philadelphia and the Mavs had the largest representation in team history with two players and a coach on the Western Conference team. Head Coach Don Nelson led the helm as Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash helped the West beat the East, 135-120.
For the second straight season the Mavs pulled off a blockbuster trade minutes before the deadline. This time the club 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.
After finishing the season 57-25, the Mavs were seeded second in the Midwest and took on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs. For the first time in team history, the Mavs swept a team in the Playoffs. The club also set a NBA record for the highest free-throw percentage in a three-game series (87.7%).
For the second consecutive season, the Mavs advanced to the Second Round of the NBA Playoffs and faced Western Conference leader Sacramento and for the second straight year the Mavs were outmatched. The team lost the series 4-1.
As the Mavs continue to improve as a team, individual players are making their mark in the record books.
Dirk Nowitzki consistently recorded outstanding performances throughout the season and playoffs. On February 23 vs. Sacramento, Nowitzki set the league record for the most defensive rebounds in a game (21) without pulling down an offensive one. Nowitzki earned All-NBA honors for the second straight season, was selected to the NBA’s Western Conference All-Star team for the first time and was chosen as the Western Conference Player of the Week for January 21-27th. Nowitzki posted 38 double-doubles (points and rebounds) for the season and for the first time in his career he was forced to miss a game (4) due to an injury. In the First Round of the Playoffs, Dirk was one rebound shy of the NBA Playoff record of 43 and also joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only other player since 1970 to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in four-straight playoff games.
Steve Nash earned All-NBA honors and finished third in the NBA’s Most Improved Award. For the first time in his career, Nash played in all 82 games and was the only Maverick to do so. He was selected to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time and was also chosen as the Western Conference Player of the Week for December 10-16th. Nash recorded 20 double-doubles for the season for points and assists.
Michael Finley scored his 10,000th point on March 23 vs. Memphis. Finley was named Western Conference Player of the Week for April 8-14th. A strained hamstring ended Finley’s consecutive games played at 490. This was the longest active streak in the NBA.
Raef LaFrentz became the third player in league history to record 100 three’s and 100 blocks in a season, joining teammate Dirk Nowitzki (2000-01) and Robert Horry (1995-96). Avery Johnson became the fifth player in NBA history to play for all three Texas teams (Chucky Brown, Mark Bryant, Vernon Maxwell and David Wood are the other four).
Head Coach/General Manager Don Nelson coached his second All-Star game in February and became the third coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins (only Lenny Wilkins and Pat Riley have more wins).
What, then, does this mean for the 2002-03 Dallas Mavericks? There is certainly a bright light at the end of the new American Airlines Center tunnel. With the new season on the horizon, the Mavs are focused on continuing the record-breaking trend and have high hopes of winning it all.
2002-2003: Mavs Reach New HeightsThe 2002-03 season for the Dallas Mavericks established their position as one of the elite teams in the NBA and produced many team and individual achievements. After starting the season on fire and winning their first 14 games, the Mavericks made franchise history by finishing the season with a 60-22 mark, that eclipsed the 2001-02 season record of 57-25. The 60-22 record was the team's ninth winning season in franchise history and also made Dallas one of three NBA teams to post 50 wins in three consecutive seasons. Dallas became the first team to clinch a playoff spot in the NBA in mid March. The Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1988, before bowing out to the eventual World Champion, San Antonio Spurs in six games. The Mavericks playoff run consisted of 20 games marking the longest post season run in Mavs history.
The Mavericks where guided by Don Nelson, in his 25th year as a head coach, to their 60-22 record. Nellie has led Dallas to a better record in each of the last four seasons. Only seven other coaches in NBA history have ever accomplished this amazing feat. Nellie has led teams to 50 win seasons 12 times and now has coached two teams to 60 win seasons. Nellie was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month in November.
Along with the guidance of Don Nelson, the Mavericks "Big Three" of Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Michael Finley combined once again for a powerful punch. Dirk joined Mark Aguirre as the only Maverick to score 2,000 points or more in a single season. While scoring his 2,011 points, Nowitzki continued to show his versatility ranking first on the team in points (25.1), rebounds (9.9) and steals (1.35) as well as averaging 39 minutes per game. Nowitzki has improved each year with the Mavericks as he has increased his scoring average over each of the last five seasons.
Steve Nash continued to prove why he is one of the top point guards in the NBA by ranking as the team's third leading scorer (17.7 ppg) and the top assist man with 7.3 apg. This season he recorded career highs in free throws made and attempted, free throw percentage, steals and total blocks. Nash set a franchise record by making an unbelievable 49 free throws in a row. That mark surpassed current player development coach, Rolando Blackman's record of 45 consecutive free throws.
The third member of the "Big Three" Michael Finley played outstanding basketball for the Mavericks during the 2002-03 season. The two-time All-Star reached the 10,000 point mark for his Maverick career and became the fourth all-time leading scorer in Mavericks history. Finley averaged 19.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 3.0 apg and played an incredible 38.3 mpg. Finley also set career highs in points (42), rebounds (15), three pointers made (7), free throws made (15) and attempted (17).
Nowitzki, Nash and Finley were all named November's Western Conference Player of the Month for the impressive numbers they accumulated. Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were both once again named to the 2002 NBA Western Conference All-Star team for the second consecutive season.
The excitement of the 2002-03 season spread throughout the Metroplex and interest in the Mavericks reached new heights. The Mavs recorded a franchise-record 41 regular season sellouts and it was the first time in Mavs history that all homes games were sold out. The Mavericks have now sold out American Airlines Center for 71 consecutive regular season games dating back to the 2001-02 season.
With the new expectations and goals, the Mavericks look poised to make a run for the Championship in 2003-04.
2003-2004: Mavs go from "Big Three" to "Fantasy Five"As the new season approached, the Mavs looked to build on their unprecedented run of 2002-03. They started off on the right foot by acquiring 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.
A week before the regular season began, the Mavs were involved in another high-profile trade that sent Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills and Jiri Welsch to Boston for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk. With all the pieces in place, the Mavs were ready to make an action-packed run for the championship.
The start of the season proved rough for the Mavs as the team struggled to put all the pieces together and create some chemistry. Dallas picked up some steam in January and recorded a season high nine game winning streak. The Mavs carried that momentum into February, as they finished with a 9-2 record which marked the best winning percentage for that month in team history (81.8%).
By the end of the season, the Mavs had made the playoffs for the fourth-straight year (10th overall) and were named 2nd among all sport franchises in ESPN The Magazine’s Fan Satisfaction Rankings. Dallas was a franchise best 36-5 at home and became the sixth Mavs team to win at least 50 games. They joined the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs as the only four teams to have won at least 50 games in each of the past four seasons.
Head Coach Don Nelson was at the helm as he led the team to another history making year. With the 2003-04 season under his belt, he has recorded a total of 13 50-win seasons and is tied with Phil Jackson for the second most 50-win seasons in NBA history. On Nov. 11, 2003, Nellie coached his 250th game with the Mavs and on Dec. 15, 2003, he won is 1111th game as a head coach, surpassing Pat Riley for second-place on the all-time coaching list.
The Mavs “Big Three” (Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley) were once again big contributors to the team. Steve Nash ranked fourth in team scoring (14.5 ppg) and averaged a career high 8.8 assists. League-wide, he ranked second in free throw percentage (a career high 91.6%), third in assists and 11th in three-point percentage. He also recorded his first triple-double (first in AAC history) in his career against Portland on Nov. 12, 2003, with 14 points, 12 assists and a career-high 10 rebounds.
Dirk Nowitzki continued to dominate as he led the team in scoring (21.8 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg), steals (1.19 spg) and blocks (1.35). Dirk was named to the All-NBA Third Team, marking the fourth time he has received All-NBA honors. In February, Dirk was named as a reserve to the NBA All-Star game for his third consecutive appearance. Not bad for a player who has only been in the league six years.
Michael Finley was solid as always, leading the team in minutes played (38.6 mpg) and finishing second on the team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and steals (1.17 spg). He also drilled 150 3-pointers, shattering his previous high of 119 set the year prior. In mid-January, he was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
The Mavs’ two newcomers, Jamison and Walker, also proved to be invaluable during the course of the season. Jamison was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, joining Roy Tarpley as the only other Maverick to have won the award. Jamison appeared in all 82 games, extending the NBA’s longest consecutive games played streak to 328. He also shot a team and career high 53.3% from the floor, which ranked tied for the third best percentage in the NBA.
Antoine Walker also validated his worth by becoming the first Maverick since Jason Kidd to post back-to-back triple doubles (Jan. 12, 2004, at New York and Jan. 14, 2004, vs. Philly). Walker finished second on the team in rebounding (8.3) and assists (4.5) and fifth in scoring. He was also the only Maverick to start in all 82 games.
The two rookies, Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels, became fan favorites as they made important contributions to the team. Both were selected to the NBA’s All-Rookie 2nd team (the first time a rookie was selected since Kidd in 94-95). Howard was also part of NBA All-Star weekend participating in the Rookie Challenge. Among NBA rookies, he ranked seventh in scoring (8.6 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (5.5 rpg). Daniels, who averaged 20.7 points over the final 11 games of the season, finished eighth among rookies in scoring (8.5 ppg) and led all rookies with a field goal percentage of 49.4%.
Although the season ended earlier than expected with a first round loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Mavs proved to be a force to be reckoned with and will continue to improve with time. Mavs fans have plenty to look forward to as the 2004-05 season promises to be an exciting one, hopefully taking the Mavs farther than ever before.
2004-2005: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…Prior to the start of the 2004-2005 season, the Mavericks once again underwent several major roster changes. In three separate trades, the Mavericks acquired Jerry Stackhouse, the #5 overall draft pick that netted rookie point guard Devin Harris, Jason Terry, Alan Henderson, and Erick Dampier. In obtaining these players, the Mavs parted ways with Antawn Jamison, Antoine Walker, Tony Delk, and Eduardo Najera, while also losing point guard Steve Nash in free agency.
On the court, the Mavericks 25th anniversary season proved to be another successful one. They finished with a record of 58-24, second best in franchise history. The team made their fifth straight appearance in the NBA Playoffs and their 11th overall, tying the longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances in franchise history (1984-1988).
In addition to the roster changes that took place over the summer, the Mavs also underwent a late-season head coaching change. Prior to the game on March 19, Don Nelson resigned as head coach of the Mavericks to take on a consulting role. Nelson handed his whistle over to Avery Johnson, who became the eighth coach in Mavericks history. During his 18 game stint as Mavericks coach prior to the start of the playoffs, Johnson coached the Mavs to an astounding 16-2 record.
In his eight seasons as Mavericks head coach, Nellie became the winningest coach in franchise history, compiling an overall record of 339-251 (.575). For his career, he coached 2,070 games (1,190-880, .575), giving him the second-highest win total in NBA history.
Dallas defeated Houston in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs despite dropping Games 1 and 2 at home. In doing so, the Mavericks became the ninth team in league history to overcome a 0-2 deficit in a seven-game playoff series and the third team to win a series after losing the first two games at home.
Despite a second round loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Mavericks season was still a successful one, both for the team and for individual players. With a victory on April 5, the Mavericks recorded their 50th win of the season, joining the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs as the only three teams to have won at least 50 games in each of the past five seasons.
Dirk Nowitzki became one of only six players to be named to an All-NBA team in each of the past five seasons. He also became the first European player (and first player who did not attend an American high school or university) to be named to the All-NBA first team. Against Houston on December 2nd, Dirk scored 53 points, setting an arena, career, and franchise high. For the season, Dirk topped the 2,000 point plateau while posting career highs in points (26.2 ppg), assists (3.1 apg) and blocks (1.53 bpg) and finishing third in the league’s MVP voting.
During the March 26th game against Cleveland, Michael Finley shot an incredible 8-of-8 from 3-point range. Not only did he set a new career-high for most 3-pointers in a single game along with tying the franchise mark for most 3-pointers in a non-overtime game, he also smashed the old team record for most 3-pointers in a single game without a miss. Finley’s 3-point barrage also ties him for the second most 3-pointers in a game without a miss in NBA history.
Rookie point guard Devin Harris was named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, becoming the first Mavericks player to receive that award since 1995.
With the Avery Johnson era officially underway, and a roster that will no doubt feature many returning players, the Mavericks have plenty to be excited about as they look towards the 2005-2006 season.
2005-2006: Western Conference ChampsThe Dallas Mavericks 2005-2006 season was indisputably the greatest in the team’s 26-year history. Despite losing to the Miami Heat in 6 games, the Mavs took the city of Dallas by storm by making it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. Beyond their first ever trip to the Finals, the Western Conference Champs had plenty of other reasons to celebrate, both during the playoffs and the regular season.
The Mavericks sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies in the First Round of the Playoffs was the first four-game sweep in franchise playoff history. The quick dismissal of the Grizzlies set the Mavs up for a battle of epic proportions with their intrastate rival and arch-enemy San Antonio Spurs. The Mavs Game 7 victory in San Antonio was highlighted by Dirk Nowitzki’s “And 1” on Manu Ginobili to tie the game in the closing seconds of regulation, arguably the biggest shot in the history of the franchise. With the victory, Dallas became the second team in NBA history to win a Game 7 in overtime on the road. Dirk’s 37 point effort was the second-most by a player in a Game 7 road victory in NBA history.
After getting by the Spurs in dramatic fashion, the Mavs took care of Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in six games in the Western Conference Finals. The highlight of the series came in Game 5, when Dirk ravaged the Suns for 50 points, only two nights after scoring a season-low 11 points in Game 4.
Dallas won 60 games during the regular season, tying the franchise best mark set in 2002-2003. As a reward for their stellar play, the Mavs coaching staff represented the Western Conference at the 2006 All-Star Game in Houston. In addition to Dirk being named to the Western Conference squad and winning the 3-point contest, Devin Harris participated in the Rookie/Sophomore game and Jason Terry participated in the 3-point contest.
Nowitzki had another superb season leading the Mavs, again topping the 2,000 point mark while setting career-highs in scoring (26.6 ppg), field goal percentage (48.0%), 3-point field goal percentage (40.6%), and free throw percentage (90.1%). All this earned him his team record fifth All-Star appearance, Western Conference Player of the Month honors for December, placed him third in the league’s MVP voting for the second straight year, and also earned him First Team All-NBA for the second time in a row.
2005-2006 marked the second straight season that the Mavs parted ways with a member of the “Big 3”, the trio that led them back to NBA prominence in the late 1990s, waiving Michael Finley in a one-time luxury tax move. The Mavs brought back glue-guy Adrian Griffin, a member of the team from 2001-2003, and signed DeSagana Diop, both of whom played key roles in the Mavs season-long success.
In just his first full season as head coach, Avery Johnson was named NBA Coach of the Year. Going back to the end of the 2004-2005 season, Avery won 66 of the first 82 games he coached, by far the best start by a first-time coach in league history. Johnson was also the fastest coach to 50 victories, and also received Coach of the Month honors twice in November and January.
Now that Avery Johnson has a full year under his belt and the team has tasted the NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry's leadership, Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier’s play off the bench, and Josh Howard, Devin Harris, and DeSagana Diop’s improved play has once again positioned the Mavs to make a run at the NBA crown in 2006-2007.