We know how the aftermath of the 2011 championship went.
The Mavs elected to blow up their title team for financial flexibly to chase big names in the summer. Most of those endeavors were fruitless, and the Mavs have had a bunch of different faces come through American Airlines Center over the past five years as a result.
But which team was the most fun and entertaining? None of these teams had any real shot of contending for a championship, so it's about which provided the most entertainment value and gave us some sense of hope for future.
1. 2013-2014: Monta Ellis have it all
I really don't think it's close. This squad was the most entertaining Mavs team since the title. They won 49 games that year to nab the No. 8 seed in tough Western Conference and pushed a ridiculously good Spurs team to SEVEN GAMES. A legitimate argument can be made that they should have won that series.
Just look at the cast of characters. Shawn Marion was on his last leg, but the Mavs still relied on him to defend the opposing team's best player nightly. Vince Carter was a reliable scorer off the bench and it was Devin Harris' first year back in Dallas. Brandan Wright became a fan favorite and even DeJuan Blair had his moments.
Think about this: if Dallas doesn't sign Deron Williams last summer, Jose Calderon is the best point guard the Mavs have had since Jason Kidd. He was a turnstile on defense, but was sooooo much fun to watch shoot. Even Samuel Dalembert found a way to contribute in the middle (when he wasn't oversleeping).
It was also the last truly great Dirk Nowitzki season we've had. Part of that, of course, is because of Monta Ellis. Dirk and Ellis created a lethal two-man game that had Dallas scoring 104.8 points per game. It was a band of misfits that TOOK THE SPURS TO SEVEN GAMES and gave us this magical moment:
2. 2014-2015: Ugh
Remember how excited we all were in October 2014? A Mavs team that nearly beat the Spurs in the playoffs added Chandler Parsons in free agency and brought back title-team favorites Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea. Combine that with Dirk and Monta, and it was supposed to be a fun team that could make some noise.
Then Rajon Rondo happened, and it all fell apart.
After that trade, it literally became a chore to watch Dallas play. Ellis fell off, Dirk was struggling and Rondo destroyed the Mavs offense. Every game was just wondering if this would be the night it would click. It never did. It was just a bunch of drama that led to a five-game flameout against the Houston Rockets in the playoffs where Rondo left the team with a "back injury." If the Mavs hadn't made the trade, this team would surely be higher on the list.
3. 2015-2016: The DeAndre aftermath
Yes, this season isn't over and the Mavs COULD still fall out of the playoffs, in theory. But this is has been a fun, but also frustrating team to watch.
Dirk is on his last legs, but still turns back the clock for classic nights from time to time. Chandler Parsons and Wes Matthews have battled back from major injuries and look like foundation pieces for the future. Deron Williams and Raymond Felton revitalizing their careers has been fun, and Dwight Powell has shown a little something. Lately, there have been head scratching losses, but this was a really fun team at the beginning of the year.
Of course, this team wasn't projected to do anything this season after the DeAndre Jordan mess in the summer. The Mavs landed Zaza Pachulia to fill their hole at center and he has done a valiant job. It's just an easy team to root for.
4. 2011-2012: Defending the title (kind of)
This team was so weird. It was supposed to be the year the Mavs defended their crown. But Chandler, Barea and other contributors were gone and it was a lockout shortened season. Dallas ended that season at 36-30 for the season and were swept by the Thunder in the playoffs. The older Mavs clearly struggled from a compacted season and had to deal with all the Lamar Odom drama. If Odom had worked out, Dallas might have been a fun a team that maybe could have earned a higher seed.
What made it tolerable was it was Dirk, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry's last hurrah together, and we got treated to some nice moments like the banner ceremony and ring night. No, I'm not crying, you're crying.
5. 2012-2013: We're growing beards
The. Worst. Dirk was hurt for a quarter of the year, making O.J. Mayo the go-to guy for the first part of the season. I can't believe I just wrote that.
When Dirk came back, he was working his way back into shape and the Mavs were on the outside looking in as far as playoffs were concerned. The Mavs had to rely on Darren Collison and Chris Kaman for major minutes and even brought in Eddy Curry and Derek Fisher at certain points. Yes, Derek Fisher was a Maverick for a minute but left because of personal reasons (suuuuuure). At one point it was so sad that the Mavs grew beards and refused to shave until they got back to .500. If Dirk played the entire year, this team might have made the playoffs, but for the first time since Dirk's rookie year, the Mavs missed the playoffs. But, they had their moments, mostly thanks to No. 41.