Déjà vu: the long way home

Once upon a time in the land of Big D there was a very good basketball team led by a big German giant named Dirk. Dirk’s team, the Mavericks, was an exciting offensive team that scored lots of points. Dirk and his friends Steve and Michael made the Mavericks the best offensive team in the league but unfortunately, they let other teams score a lot of points too.

Still, watching them was a lot of fun. Dirk and his teammates worked hard to get better and the next year almost went to the NBA finals before running into their Texas neighbors from San Antonio. But the following season things were back to normal.

Now Steve was Dirk’s good friend and a blossoming point guard extraordinaire. But Mr. Mark, the team’s owner, thought Steve was getting old and didn’t want to pay him too much money so Steve left for another team in the land of Phoenix, where he became a two-time MVP much to the chagrin of all the good MFFLs. Instead, Mr. Mark decided to spend money later on a big center named Erick and paid him the money instead, hoping that would help the Mavericks’ defense.

And the Mavericks old Coach Don passed the baton to young Coach Avery, and things got better. But year after year Dirk and his team played very exciting basketball but never quite good enough to win a championship despite reaching the NBA Finals under Coach Avery. And so they continued to be very good but not good enough to go all the way.

After the finals, the Mavericks were the best team in the league all season until they reached the playoffs, where they lost to the 8th seed team under the tutelage of Coach Don. The next year later they didn’t do as well and Mr. Mark decided it was time for a change, so he brought in a new coach who was known for teaching his players to play defense. His name was Coach Rick and after he came, Mark brought back an old friend who had been in Big D even before Dirk but had also left for Phoenix, where future Maverick Hall-of-Fame point guards go when they leave Big D.

His name was Jason and he was very very good, much like Steve…but unlike Steve he was also one of the best defensive players in the league. And over the course of the next couple of years, the Mavericks began to get other players who were also very good at both offense and defense. Shawn, Caron and DeShawn all came to play. And the fans saw this and it was good.

And one day, the Mavericks finally got a big man in the middle who could play defense to be the new center and his name was Tyson. He was a also a great teammate with lots of enthusiasm and was the perfect fit for the team and could also score. And the Mavericks and Dirk finally won their championship and everyone was happy.

But Mr. Mark was worried about being able to pay everyone on the team and still get great new players for the future so he did something unprecedented in sports history: he let many of the players go to other teams. And Mavericks fans were sad, especially for Dirk, because he had stayed with the team through thick and thin and was getting older and had hoped to win another championship before he stopped playing.

And the next year the Mavericks weren’t nearly as good and for the first time in many years, they didn’t score nearly as much. And after another year went by and more of Dirk’s old friends left, he got hurt and the Mavericks had a terrible year and didn’t make the playoffs at all for the first time in a decade.

But then the Mavericks started to get better again. Mr. Mark brought in some players who made the team look much the way it had many years ago: very good on offensive but not as good on defense. Still, Coach Rick knew how to get the most out if his players and they made the playoffs again, even almost beating the mighty Spurs.

And so in the real world also we find ourselves in the offseason, which comes with much hope, for the Mavericks were back to being very good if not great and had gone farther than anyone expected. Now will be the time to retool and tweak and make changes to get to the next level while Dirk is still playing at a high level. The team has come full circle…the question is, what has the team learned from the lessons of the past? Sometimes a bedtime story is as illustrative as x's and o's...and of course, there is always a happy ending.

Follow me @AustinMFFL

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