Well, here’s my first post! As I said in my introduction yesterday, I really wanted to start doing a series of articles about the history of the Mavericks. So in this first part, I decided to start by looking at the early, formative years of the Mavs history! I'll try and include some videos to the next couple of history sections I do (sadly, there weren't many involving the early Mavs).
The Mavs’ history starts in the late 70s with a man named Donald Carter. Carter back then was really not much of a basketball person; his main reason for trying to bring a team to the city of Dallas was for his wife, who was a very avid basketball fan. In this period, he tried extremely hard to relocate a team to the city of Dallas; however, this move failed twice, first with the Milwaukee Bucks, and then with the Kansas City Kings (who ended up moving to Sacramento). The problem with relocation was that the NBA owners would not make much profit off of moving a team, whereas they would get a far greater profit through an expansion team (a fee had to be paid to the NBA to create an expansion team with a portion of the fee going to the owners of the other NBA teams). Despite all the problems, Carter and the President/GM Norm Sonju (who also has a huge part in helping the Mavs get formed) eventually helped Dallas become the 23rd team to join the NBA in late April of 1980.
Beginning the first season, not much was expected of the Mavs. Although they had a championship winning coach in Dick Motta, they were expected to struggle mightily. However, before the season even began, problems arose as Dallas' first pick, UCLA star Kiki Vandeweghe, refused to play for the Mavs and demanded to be traded, causing much controversy. Although he was eventually traded, he was treated as a villain whenever he played in Reunion Arena.Through all this drama, the season eventually arrived and the Mavs started strong, upsetting the Spurs 103-92. However, the season would quickly turn sour as the Mavs finished an abysmal 15-67. On the bright side, though, Rick Sund, who was pretty much the head scout on the Mavs and helped build this team into a contender through finding loads of talent, found Brad Davis in the CBA. Davis went on to become a huge part of the 80s Mavs and now plays the color analyst role as part of the Mavs' radio team while being one of only two Mavericks to have their number retired.
The next year, the Mavs really began to take shape. Beginning with far and away the best draft class in team history, the team generated momentum. Among the highlights of the draft were taking Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackman in the top 10 and then nabbing forward Jay Vincent in the 2nd round. Aguirre immediately showed promise as he got off to a torrid start before eventually being forced to miss a significant portion of the season after breaking his foot. This opened up the door for Vincent, who went onto take a starting role and lead the Mavs in scoring. Although the Mavs still did end up missing the playoffs, they had made some major breakthroughs, finishing 28-54, a 13 game improvement over the past season.
As the 1983 season started, Dallas looked ready to continue taking the next step. Starting out 4-1, the Mavs seemed poised to possibly get into the playoffs. However, they soon faded but ended up finishing a solid 38-44, just missing out on the playoffs. Despite the miss, players such as Aguirre continued to flourish, filling up the stat sheet night after night. Perhaps the biggest wins of the season, however, came against the Lakers, whom the Mavs defeated twice at home. With two picks in the top 15 in the upcoming draft, the Mavs looked ready to keep on building.