Top 5 Champions Who Can Lead Dallas Mavericks To Championship
Dallas Mavericks, Raise the Roof and Another Banner
If the Dallas Mavericks have a vision board, I would imagine it as the backboard upon which the ball ultimately hits and slides down the hoop to ultimately score them the NBA Finals Championship once again.
The Mavs, whose current 2013 preseason record is 4-3 after winning against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, are the last Western Conference Champions to win the Finals in 2011, when they beat the Miami Heat, who have had the Finals title for the past two years.
With a roster makeover, the Mavericks have kept key players and taken on new teammates who very well could make them victorious this 2013-14 season, which tips off in less than one week, and as they potentially advance to the playoffs.
Remaining players on the roster include my Tipoff Trio: power forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has spent his entire NBA career with Dallas, small forward Shawn Marion, who enters his 15th season in the league, and guard/forward Vince Carter, who just wrapped up his 15th season playing pro ball.
My vision for the Mavs is the gold ball and basket that comprises the Larry O'Brien trophy. As long as the team also envisions and pivots toward this goal again after achieving it the first time, they still has a chance.
Aside from holding and kissing the trophy, one notable Maverick stood out by wearing it on his sleeve, literally. Jason Terry, who now plays for the Brooklyn Nets, has the Larry O'Brien trophy branded on his right bicep.
This slideshow includes my previous Tipoff Trio, who led Dallas to its first and only NBA Finals title, my "Honorable Mentions" of prospective players who can provide and guide the opportunity to go all the way again, and my top five Mavs Champs who can lead Dallas to championship status.
I rate these Mavericks who have played in their respective national championship series based on their health, how recently they have made their appearances, and how far they have gone.
2011 Tipoff Trio Tribute: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki
I pay tribute to my Tipoff Trio from the 2011 NBA Finals Championship: two-time Maverick Jason Kidd, “JET” (Terry) and Nowitzki. Since the former two went their separate ways from the Big D of Dallas and Dirk, they actually reunited in Brooklyn, where “JKidd” has been coaching since his retirement from playing as a Net.
Honorable Mention: Sixth Man Vince Carter
My 2013 Tipoff Trio has two champions and one championship-hungry Carter, who went “beast mode” this past offseason to be game-ready. "Vinsanity" certainly has proven his hardwood hard work thus far, including leading in scoring attempts in the preseason game at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Honorable Mention: Monta Ellis
Starting shooting guard Monta Ellis is one half of my Nowellis Dynamic Duo that also includes Nowitzki. Ellis was explicit about his excitement to bring the title back to Dallas on Media Day. He also was part of the Golden State Warriors who eliminated the Mavs from the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs.
5. Devin Harris, 2006 Western Conference Champ
Guard Devin Harris was in his first run with the Mavericks when they won the 2006 NBA Western Conference Championship and suffered defeat from the Heat in the NBA Finals. He is ranked No. 5 here, because he still is out recovering from toe surgery yet has “hoop hopes” upon his return to the court.
4. José Calderón, 2006 FIBA World and 2011 EuroBasket Champ
Starting point guard José Calderón, who recently made his Dallas debut in the Mavericks’ preseason road game against the Charlotte Bobcats to wrap up the second week of the 2013 NBA preseason, is also made of championship caliber. This international baller helped the Spanish National Team take home the gold medal at the 2011 FIBA EuroBasket and the 2006 World Championship.
3. DeJuan Blair, 2013 Western Conference Champ
Center/power forward DeJuan Blair comes to Dallas just a hop, skip and two-step away through the I-35 from the San Antonio Spurs, who are the current Western Conference Champs. Maybe he could reverse a former Maverick/Spur “Michael Finley” (who was part of my 2004-05 Tipoff Trio before making his way to SA) by winning with the Mavs.
2. Shawn Marion, 2011 NBA Finals Champ
“The Matrix” worked his magic by helping the Mavericks win their second shot at the NBA Finals in 2011. Marion’s health may have been in question with MRIs on the rise, but he still has proven his prowess on the floor, in particular when he set the pace while visiting the Indiana Pacers during the preseason.
1. Dirk Nowitzki, 2011 NBA Finals MVP
This Big D, Dirk, has seen the highs and the lows of his Mavericks' Big D, Dallas, since he started his NBA career there in 1998. Previously, he appeared with the Mavs in the 2003 Western Conference Championship, losing to the Spurs, winning the 2006 “Best of West,” and going all the way to World Championship status in 2011, when he was named NBA Finals MVP. As he kisses the Larry O'Brien trophy here, I imagine that the trophy must be bigger than his own baby girl, who was born this past summer (in current size, not importance).