Flashback to the 2012-13 NBA season and the Dallas Mavericks weren’t even talked about, unless mentioned in the context of losses and failures. It was an ugly year for a franchise that had won a championship two years before and the future held uncertainty. Dallas’ biggest name on the roster, the star of the entire organization for well over a decade, had entered his mid-thirties, 35 to be exact, and he still was the leader. There was no younger name, no up ‘n’ coming hotshot to take the reigns from Dirk Nowitzki and owner Mark Cuban didn’t seem to mind.
Now it is February of the 2014 year and the Mavericks currently find themselves in the eight spot of the Western Conference. You would never guess that Nowitzki is 35 based on the way he and his team are playing. They carried that momentum over to the East Coast as they defeated the Boston Celtics, 102-91, and increased their winning streak to five games.
There is, without a question, a difference in Dallas this season, but is making the playoffs enough to satisfy Nowitzki and Cuban? Obviously the answer to that question is no because Cuban and Nowitzki want to win a title like every other player, owner and team in the NBA. The question that should be asked is: Can the Mavericks pose any type of challenge to the West’s elite teams?
With veteran players like Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter, Dallas of course has a chance to make a little noise. It will be easy for teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder or Portland Trail Blazers to overlook the Mavs based on last season’s record and their aging roster.
Let this be a warning for those elite teams out West: Do not overlook the Dallas Mavericks.
This is a team that has been to the finals twice in eight years, including one championship. They know how to win and they know how to get it done. I’m not going to go crazy and say that Dallas is going to go on an insane run and make the Western Conference Finals, but it does have the ability to get out of the first round. Every team should take the Mavs serious because as the San Antonio Spurs have proven time and time again, age and experience can pay off.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.