The title is self-explanatory. Since there's obviously nothing to do in the offseason outside of all this brilliant FA speculation, I might as well get some pointless opinions going on a probably well-beaten topic, which you could label in several ways: favourite Mav outside of Dirk, favourite "Dirk sidekick", guy you'd most likely step in front of a bus for (instead of Dirk), and so it goes.
I guess I could turn this into a full-blown tournament bracket, but I probably need random feedback firstly. So here goes the list of my candidates, completely created off my bias. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Darrell Armstrong: VETERAN-Y LEADERSHIP! Everyone loves D.A., he was always a great guy for the Mavs to have at the back of their benches, sort of like Avery.
J.J. Barea: I know, you guys might be saying, "Really?!" But hey, I remember he was fun to watch coming in during the 06-07, 07-08 and especially the 08-09 season, making some ridiculous shots and providing brilliant moments all the way around. Then Carlisle made him run the offense while Kidd was out resting his old-man body, and frustration resulted. Maybe we treated him unfairly because we wanted to see moar Roddy, but man, it did feel like he made a ton of stupid turnovers and took a ton more stupid shots than he had before. And he was horrifically bad on D. Still, gotta keep our Puerto Rican readers in mind.
Brandon Bass: I remember watching him in a pre-season game back in 2008, against Chicago, I think, and watching him throw down a series of ridiculously nasty dunks. This was a team that hadn't gone above the rim for about four years, and it just blew my mind. Okay, Bass had already been on the team for a year, but it was still genius. Always a solid source of energy play off the bench, who could score a little with his athleticism at the rim and a steady mid-range jumper which occasionally lost its radar. Then, he was lost in the Otis Smith Free Agent Shaft of 2009, an act of superdickery which generated enough negative karma for what just happened to the Magic. Doesn't he have, like, three more years on that contract?
Rodrigue Beaubois: It is only just beginning.
Fact: Matt Carroll invented water.
Fact: Matt Carroll won 11 Noble Peace Prizes, and allowed Barack Obama to win what would've been number 12.
Fact: Matt Carroll recorded 9 Platinum records, including his 100X Platinum album "All Eyes on MC13"
Fact: Matt Carroll once scored 4 touchdowns in one game for Polk High.
Fact: Matt Carroll was a 5 times Parade All-American in high school.
Fact: Matt Carroll wrote "War and Peace" in 30 minutes. Tolstoy ain't got shit on him.
Fact: Matt Carroll is the strongest man in the world, stronger than even Greg Ostertag.
Fact: Matt Carroll won the 1996, 2003 and 2009 Mr. Universe contest. Unfortunately, he was prevented from entering the 2010 contest as it was finally adjudged that it would make proceedings too unfair for other contestants.
Fact: Matt Carroll tied Manute Bol, by sleeping with 30,000 women, including Wilt's mom.
Fact: Matt Carroll beat Bobby Fischer in chess and checkers.
Fact: Matt Carroll invented the internet, along with Al Gore.
Fact: Matt Carroll is an international hero, a real life Austin Powers.
Fact: Matt Carroll found a cure for cancer, but is waiting for someone worthy enough to share the secret with. Unfortunately, that person may never come.
Fact: Matt Carroll won OVER 9000 gold medals
Fact: Matt Carroll was the first man on the Moon, and it wasn't even as part of that faked landing either.
Fact: Matt Carroll was the 5th member of the Beatles
Cedric Ceballos: I remember watching this guy in my first season as a Mavs fan, back in 99-00. Strangely enough, it was this man and Fin which got me really interested in the Mavs to start up: sure, Dirk looked like he'd be a really good player, but watching Ceballos and Fin fly around the court and throwing down dunks was pretty enjoyable business. Still, you know which video is coming...
Marquis Daniels: I suppose ‘Quis never lived up to the expectations he set upon himself by having a very impressive rookie season and subsequently earning himself another "jumped-the-gun-too-early" contract extension from Cuban. Struggled with injuries but was generally an effective bench contributor when healthy, going back to the Finals with Boston now.
Hubert Davis: Um...I might be overcompensating while the post looks relatively short. I think he was the guy before Steve Nash, right? Sort of like the Chad Hutchinson to Nash's Tony Romo
DeSagana Diop: Goddamnit. I really can't be bothered here. Remember how he shut down Tim Duncan for, like, five minutes once? Another time he earned himself five fouls in five minutes, in the midst of falling into Avery's endless pit of a doghouse.
Gregrian Griffner: Could you argue that Adrian Griffin and Greg Buckner was essentially the same player? They were so invisible that you couldn't really tell if their defence was good enough to warrant the "defensive specialist" role that kept them on the roster. I guess the same applies to Quinton Ross and ‘The' Devean George, but eh, I liked Griffin and Buckner better for some reason. At least they didn't take stupid shots like George did.
Devin Harris: Yes, I know, we still might be bitter about that trade, and it could still be one of those topics which cause debate in DFW sports fans for years and years to come. A few weeks ago the deal was likened to the Jamie Langenbrunner for Jason Arnott deal made by the Stars, and agreeably so. Harris is going to be at least one of the guys who got away. One of the first Mavs lottery picks in years and a very exciting prospect - well, anyone with that sort of speed plus everything else he brought to the table would've been, he was supposed to take the reins at point guard for the next decade. Shame it didn't work out, but all we can hope for now is that Roddy ends up along Devin's lines, or possibly even better.
Juwan Howard: Well, the only way you could really describe JuHo's (or alternatively, "Old Man River") two-time tenure with the Mavs is "interesting". Came in at an incredibly exciting time for the Mavs, at the trade deadline in their first season back in relevance. A guy who was still in his prime and expected to slot in as a solid two-way forward. In the end, he wasn't really anything spectacular, but he played well in the low-post on both ends. He probably could've done a little more, but hey, I didn't have any problems with him. I remember this game as a shining moment though: http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200104010SAC.html
As for his second stint as a Mav, I don't have much to say except finding it mildly hilarious in hindsight, especially when considering his mini resurgence this season with the Blazers. All I can remember is a particular game against the Bucks, where he punked Yi Jianlian. The Mavs would end up losing the game, and I made some comment about him incurring "the wrath of China". Not much else.
Josh Howard: From 2005-2007, Josh would have been an extremely popular choice if you asked any Mavs fan about their favourite non-Dirk player on the team. A guy who did the dirty work, scored without needing the ball in his hands, played hard night-in night-out, all from the position of the #29 overall?
And then things just changed. I don't want to recount what happened after the Kidd trade, which was supposed to have been the turning point. All of that is now in the past, and we're left with just memories of #5. Most notably, there's probably just two: firstly, "You can't control what the ball do", spoken during that horrific showing against the Hornets back in 2008. And secondly, with another old favourite:
Nice knowin' ya, Josh. Shame it didn't completely work out.
Michael Finley: Personally, my choice. Carried the team while Dirk and Nash developed, had no problem with the big one becoming the Big Three, stepped aside graciously as Dirk blossomed into the man. All the way through represented the franchise with class. Got on my nerves a little by the end with his increased tendency to fire up jumpers but nevertheless upset when he was cut through an unfortunate (but justifiable) salary cap situation. Him finally getting his ring, albeit with the Spurs, was the only bright spot on that piece-of-shit 2006-2007 season.
A.C. Green: Unlike Cedric Ceballos, I never really recalled much of Green during the early days. But hey, gotta throw some possible candidates in here.
Gerald Green: I always wanted Gerald Green to play. Probably why I should stay a fan instead of a GM.
Jason Kidd: Whee! Can you call it the prodigal son returning? Mavs fans have been spoiled by watching two of the greatest ever point guards run the team. And at least the Mavs can make a claim to having introduced Kidd to the fountain of youth! Shame it ran out by the time the playoffs came around this year.
Raef LaFrentz: The Mavs dealt awfully often with big white scrubs, and Raef was probably the most talented of them, leading a pack which included Shawn Bradley, Keith Van Horn, Evan Eschmeyer and Pavel Podkolzin, among others. At least he could somewhat rebound, and catch and finish the passes Nash directed perfectly into his waiting hands. And he had a nice shot. I still can't believe Cuban gave him that massive contract, mind-blowingly stupid.
Eduardo Najera: Make a list about the "white, all-hustle fan-favourite" NBA players and Eddie goes on that list, alongside such illustrious names as Mark Madsen. Resurface out of nowhere this season as the man who came back the other way in exchange for Kris Humphries, in a curious payroll-influenced deal. Sigh. I liked Hump as well. I probably shouldn't forget to add that he was just as overmatched as he was previously against big guys. But his hustle was still there and watching him sink threes (something he apparently picked up in his long travels elsewhere) and become a sort of quasi-agitator in the Steve Ott mould made his second stint with the Mavs just as enjoyable as the first. Maybe more frustrating.
Steve Nash: Well, I'll be brief here since everyone knows the story. I loved Nashty, he was just as exciting as Dirk and Fin in the Nellie years and overall gave some terrific seasons in a Mav uniform. Brought it every game, watching him pass and shoot was a joy. His lack of defense was obviously a glaring negative, but you could never accused him of not trying hard enough on D: he just wasn't good enough at that end. I don't want to beat a fossilized horse in discussing "to keep or not to keep" at the end of the 2003-2004 season. May as well put it out there:
Dennis Rodman: I just had to include him, 12-game stint or not. The first memorable event of Mark Cuban's illustrious ownership? I remember one particular grand incident which involved him getting thrown out. Not much else.
Jerry Stackhouse: You know how it proceeds: came here in the Jamison trade as sort of damaged goods, settles in very well as the Mavs' sixth man, albeit typically streaky as a gunner with his skillset entails. Shows balls of steel in the playoffs, especially during that Spurs series in 06, draining two pull-up jumpers in overtime in Game 7. Suddenly loses the ability to make shots at the start of 2008-2009, with the alternative theory being a prolonged battle with the dastardly illness ‘brick-itis'. Whatever it is, he doesn't play for the Mavs again, and he's now in Milwaukee where he can keep hoisting up and missing jumpers. Generally represented the organisation well, except for the grovelling at the end which you can't really grudge him for, since most players would do that if they were in his situation.
Jason Terry: Love him or hate him, he's probably top-five in the "most influential Mavs of the past decade". And he is a pretty cool guy, which we can appreciate whether he's not missing on the way to 30 points, or building a mansion with the bricks he throws up on other nights. I don't feel like saying much here.
Nick Van Exel: When you talk about someone who made a ton of impact in a relatively short amount of time as a Mav, NVE was absolutely ‘it'. When he caught fire, nothing could really compare. He was so-so in that first playoffs series loss to the Kings in 2002, but then was a complete ace-in-the-hole during the series against the very same team the year after. In my mind, the 40 points he put up in Sacramento in Game 3 of that series, stealing home-court right back for the Mavs, is quite possibly the greatest playoffs performance by a Mav ever, maybe behind Dirk's efforts in 2006 (Game 7 in San Antonio and the 50-point game against Phoenix, of course). I'll just spout clichés to describe it: fearless, badass, swagger. Airballs a three with under a minute left and down by two, isolates on Dallas' next possession and nails a floater in the lane to tie it up, then makes the go-ahead three in overtime. Incredible. Of course he'd end up being dealt to Golden State for Antawn Jamison in a move which was met with some mixed reactions at the time. Jamison was an impact scorer and NVE was getting up there in years, but it wasn't exactly an area of need, considering how Tim Duncan had made mincemeat out of the Mavs frontline during that series, and even so, the Spurs only just ended up winning.
Antoine Walker: I'm kidding. Really. Just wanted an excuse to post the following video, which was just too awesome to let go:
All kinds of freelancing awesome.
Walt Williams: Another fond memory of the 2002-2003 Mavs, coming from the same "Van Exel game" during the playoffs: Walt Williams coming in, with the Mavs crippled by foul trouble, and knocking down several shots including two big threes. The second one handed the Mavs a five-point lead with very limited time left, and although they almost ended up blowing it anyway, they were just huge shots to make.
Antoine Wright: Um, maybe I should've put him with Buckner and Griffin? I've never tried combining three full names before.
...and, I think I went overboard. But that list works for me. Plenty of possibly notable omissions, but hey, my bias. One last thing:
So tournament, anyone?