When I really started paying attention the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, there were two players who really captured me. Michael Finley was an all-star, but he was steady, not flashy. He did his job and put the Mavericks on his back, leading the team.
For me, two awkward, gangly guys were the most fun to watch. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash could shoot the lights out but were never smooth. Nash had stringy hair that flew in all directions as he moved, and Nowitizki was a tall guy who brought the ball up the court and shot 3-pointers. With these two guys in the rotation, the Mavericks were weird, and I liked that. They also scored a lot of points, which is fun.
The illustrious PandaHank41 (subscribe!) has compiled highlights of one of their best games together. In a 126-109 blowout of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the duo combined for 66 points. Nowiztki put up 35 points, 18 rebounds, and four assists. Nash, not to be outdone, contributed 31 points, 10 assists, and two rebounds.
Much like Luka Doncic today, Nowitzki and Nash played with a joy that made watching basketball much more fun. Yes, they scored points and won games, but they did more than that. They brought their own distinct style to the NBA, and it made the league a better place.
Their games fit together perfectly, and I, like many Mavericks fans, can’t help but wonder if they would have been able to win a championship together if given more time. Watching Hank’s video, I also couldn’t help but think how amazing they’d be together in today’s NBA. Both would shoot more 3-pointers, and both would have much more room to operate. It would truly be fun to watch. Alas, we’ll just have to imagine what it would be while watching highlights like the video above.