Dallas Mavericks: NBA Championship Titles and Key Players
Dallas Mavericks History and Highlights.
The Dallas Mavericks won one NBA championship in 2011 and made another NBA Finals appearance in 2006, both with Dirk Nowitzki being their best player.
Founding and Early Years
The team was founded in 1980, and despite having San Antonio and Houston in the state of Texas, the league allowed Dallas to join the NBA.
First Solid Team
The Mavs had a respectful team for the first time in the 1982-83 season, with Mark Aguirre being their top scorer. Dallas made five consecutive playoff appearances and made it to the Western Conference Finals in 1988, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. After that, the Mavs waited 13 years for their next playoff win.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the Mavs were one of the worst teams in the league. They drafted Jason Kidd as the second overall pick at the 1994 NBA Draft. The point guard formed a trio with Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn, known as the “Triple J”. They were very talented but simply too young and wild to get along well, and that team was soon broken down, trading all three players.
The turning point came in 1997. The Mavs had the right of the sixth pick in the NBA Draft and selected Robert Traylor Jr. That would be one of the worst mistakes in franchise history, but the Dallas Mavericks Don Nelson traded Traylor for a young German kid named Dirk Nowitzki, who was selected with the ninth pick by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nowitzki was seen as a promising European talent and slowly but surely became the best player on the Mavs team.
In 2000, Mark Cuban bought the team for $285 million, which proved to be a critical turning point for the Mavs.
The new management added Michael Finley and Steve Nash to the team, and all of a sudden, the Mavs were again a fun team to watch. Finley and Nowitzki became All-Star players and, together with Nash, brought the Mavs back to the playoffs in 2001.
In 2004, Cuban didn’t want to sign Nash to a max deal which saw the point guard returning to Phoenix, where he won back-to-back MVP trophies.
Even though Cuban made a huge mistake letting Nash go, he still managed to make a great team with Jason Terry, Eric Dampier, and JJ Barea around Nowitzki. That Mavs team managed to get to the NBA Finals in 2006. They faced the Miami heat and had a 2-0 lead and a 15-point lead in Game 3. Things quickly turned around, and the Mavs lost four consecutive games and their first NBA Finals.
Cuban didn’t give up, and Nowitzki became an even better player. In 2008, the Mavs added Jason Kidd and later center Tyson Chandler.
The 2010s and Today
After adding Kidd and Chandler to the lineup in 2008, the Mavs lost three times in the opening playoff rounds in the years that followed. But then came 2011.
NBA Championship Win
The Dallas Mavericks were the best team in the league, with Nowitzki in his prime. The Mavs cruised in the Western Conference playoffs, losing only three games on the way to the NBA Finals. They then faced the Heat once again, this time with LeBron James on the roster. The Mavs went 2-1 down after the first three games but then went on to win three consecutive games and their first-ever NBA championship.
That was the peak of that team that started to break down in the next couple of seasons.
The team’s new leader came in 2018, when the Mavericks, just like in the Nowitzki case, traded on draft night for European talent.
The Mavs selected Trae Young with the sixth pick in the 2018 NBA Draft but sent him to Atlanta in exchange for Luka Doncic.
Doncic soon became an All-Star and a member of the All-NBA first team. He led the Mavs to consecutive playoff berths, making it to the Western Conference Finals in the 2021-22 season, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors.