Another year is done and dusted, and now it’s time for us to sit in awe as we realise that the supermarkets are already beginning to sell hot cross buns (seriously, it’s only January).
The 2017 Mavericks can be likened a lot to hot cross bun: you mostly know what to expect, and they’re usually pretty underwhelming. Okay, admittedly it’s not a great analogy (are hot cross buns a thing in the US or just here in Australia?), but at any rate, here we are at the end of the year looking back on some of the best times.
Special thanks to our readers who got involved and submitted their favorite memories. If we missed something, make sure to let us know below!
Doyle Rader (@TheKobeBeef):
There are two moments that really stood out to me in 2017. The first, of course, was Dirk Nowitzki hitting the 30,000 point milestone. I was at that game, per usual, but the entire feeling in the AAC was different. The energy was tangible. And then, Dirk came out and put on a show! He was a man possessed, dropping buckets right and left on the Lakers. When the time came, poor Larry Nance Jr. found himself a footnote in the annals of NBA history as Dirk swished himself into the 30k club with a one-legged fade. I wrote about the evening at the time.
The second was draft night. Again, I was at the AAC awaiting the Mavs' spot to come up at number nine. While the ESPN broadcast was on the TVs, everyone was on their phones or laptops, eyes dead set on Twitter. That's where news breaks, after all. Once the New York Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina with the eighth pick, I knew Dennis Smith Jr. was coming to Dallas. It was a great night. Oh, and I wrote about it, too.
If I had to pick a runner up moment to these two, it's when the team traded for Josh McRoberts. That was a great day. And what do you know, I wrote about it as well!
Josh Bowe (@Boweman55):
Since 2017 wasn't really a banner year for Mavericks basketball, favorite moments are few and far between. Dirk's magical 30k night is easily the topper, with the drafting of Dennis Smith Jr. being an obvious number two. They were easily the best and brightest moments during a dreary year that featured the Mavericks entering a rebuilding phase for the first time since Dirk had been drafted about 20 years ago. I'd imagine those two moments will top everyone's list *glances up at Doyle's* and yep, sounds about right!
For the sake of variety, I'll mix it up. For me, Dirk's game-tying shot against Utah in February was one of the best moments of the year. It was the perfect distillation of these current Mavs—the team desperately wants Harrison Barnes to be The Guy, but as long as Dirk is still here, he will still keep kicking asses. And I like Harrison Barnes! But that shot was a great reminder that Dirk is Dirk and Dirk doing Dirk things trumps everything till he decides to retire.
The other moment, I'll go a little darker and stay on brand—when the Mavericks traded for Nerlens Noel. As awful as the situation looks now, there's no denying there was much celebration when the trade happened as it was such a slam dunk. The Mavericks traded away Justin Anderson, who wasn't doing much and hasn't proved to be much of anything and some second-round picks for a former sixth overall pick of just a few years back with unbridled potential in a role the Mavericks are typically very good at utilizing. Dreams of a younger, more talented version of Brandan Wright and Tyson Chandler filled all of our dreams after the trade, with even General Manager Donnie Nelson declaring that Noel was a "Tyson Chandler starter kit." For the rest of the season, our hopes were paid off. Noel was awesome! It was really fun for a three-month stretch there to think the Mavs had fast-forwarded through part of their rebuild and hell, I thought there was a chance they'd be a dark-horse eight-seed contender with Noel having a breakthrough season. That's all gone now, but it was such a powerful moment back then, I can't leave it off this list.
Dalton Trigg (@Dalton_Trigg):
As most people would say, Dirk surpassing 30,000 career points has to be way up there. Not just the fact that he did it, but in the manner of how he did it. In the first half of that game against the Lakers, it looked like a flashback to 2011. He simply could not miss and was going for the kill early. It was incredible to watch.
The best Mavs moment for me personally this year, though, happened just a few days ago when Dennis Smith Jr. recorded his first career triple double in a thrilling road win against the Pelicans. Unlike the Dirk 30k moment, I actually witnessed DSJ’s breakout in person. My wife and I go to New Orleans two times every season when the Mavs are playing down there, and it was just an absolute joy (and great coincidence) that we were able to witness that in person. That, topped off by his stellar follow-up performance against OKC, has the Mavs riding a four-game win streak into 2018. What a great way to end a very eventful calendar year.
Brian Wiora (@11fitzgerald):
It was a Wednesday night, mid-March. The Mavs were teetering on playoff relevancy. And yet, not even “Wizards” could handle the sorcery of Nico Brussino. Eleven points, nine rebounds, and two clutch steals from the Argentine Acrobat. Then, he vanished, just as mysteriously as he arrived.