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The Dallas Mavericks: Enjoy Them While You Can

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We live in an instant gratification and reaction world now, there is no denying that fact.  If you win, you're in the pantheon of greatness and if you don't win, no matter what the reason, you're a bum.  Perspective is thrown out the window and things aren't truly appreciated.  If they are ever appreciated, it's well beyond the time to really enjoy it.  While there is time, it's time to look at the value of the past decade of the Mavericks.

10x50 is the short-hand version of boasting the Mavericks ability to win 50 or more regular season games for 10 consecutive seasons, thanks to the people at dallasbasketball.com for coming up with that.  Putting things in perspective, the Los Angeles Lakers 12-straight 50-win regular seasons between the 1980 and 1991 seasons is the all-time NBA record.  The 2009-2010 San Antonio Spurs moved up to second on the list by producing their 11th consecutive season of 50 or more wins in a season.  The Boston Celtics from 1959-1968 are on the list with 10-straight 50-win seasons. The Celtics also did it nine times from 1980 to 1988, and then there are the current Dallas Mavericks.

Now there is a clear dividing line between the Mavericks and those three teams during their streaks: those three teams won titles while Dallas has yet to win one.  That will hang over their heads until they win one but the results should not be taken for granted considering what the Mavericks could be. 

mayur.patel, fellow MMB contributor, is doing a nice job chronicling the Mavericks history.  You can view Part One here and Part Two here.  The question I pose out of this: Would you rather be the Mavericks NOW or the Mavericks of the early and mid-90s?

Yes, the Mavericks have not won a championship but they have remained competitive in the highly-talented Western Conference.  Every year, they give themselves a chance to make a run for the Larry O'Brien trophy and have come up unsuccessful.  The forgotten fact is there are 28 other teams who end up leaving empty handed and anywhere from 4-6 out of that bunch are like Dallas in the thought they believed they had a serious chance of winning.  It's just the nature of the game, there will only be one winner and a lot of losers.  As a fan, you only can really hope is your team gives you at least a fighting chance and the Mavericks are doing that.  What would be the alternative?  You can get the dynamite and blow it up. 

The end result would eventually lead to a team that resembles that Mavericks of the early 90s, disarray and looking for hope.  Not to step on mayur.patel's future articles, but you know the result wasn't great.  If you don't know, the Mavericks had stretches where they won 11 and 13 games in a season!  This decade, the Mavericks have had double-digit winning streaks multiple times.  If the Mavericks were to blow it all up, a relatively comparable modern-day example could be the Minnesota Timberwolves.   They had a franchise star in Kevin Garnett and won a bunch of games and made the playoffs and had disappointing exits and decided to blow it up and trade him away.  Without a doubt, they truly haven't recovered since.  You can obviously say they can only go up but that's literal because they were dead last in the West THIS year, the Garnett deal happened in 2007.  The Wolves have assembled a stable of draft picks over the years and have remained a resident of the lottery and David Kahn, their GM, hates it. 

This is his view of the lottery:

"It is truly a hideous experience. It is just awful," the Wolves' president said of Tuesday's gathering of non-playoff teams, all praying that random luck could manage what their forlorn rosters could not. "You could almost sense the desperation in the room."

StarTribune.com

That's not exactly the most ringing endorsement you'd like to hear about where your team stands in the grand scheme of things.  On top of that, the value for a team being near the top of the draft or in the lottery can be overrated.  Think of players such as Mike Conley, Jr.  Adam Morrison, Shelden Williams, Robert Swift, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Darko Milicic and Kwame Brown.  The list can simply go on and on.  The amount of work, time and luck it will take for Minnesota to become relevant and competitive in the West is off the charts.  It could be even worse than what the Mavericks faced in the early 90s. 

 

The modern-day Mavericks have their cake and they can eat it too.  As mentioned, they're very competitive and they really have shown a knack for picking players at the tail end of the NBA draft.  You can look at Roddy Beaubois, Dominique Jones and even look back at players like Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels.  Howard and Daniels will never be compared to Dirk, but they had moments where they were incredibly valuable to the franchise. They've created the financial flexibility to be ready to pounce on an opportunistic deal and continue assembling talent to remain competitive.

If you told any NBA team before the season that it would finish with 50 wins, nearly all of them would take it.  This feat that the Mavericks have accomplished is not their ultimate goal, but that doesn't mean that we should discount what they have done.