We’ll be going over every NBA team’s All-Time Starting Five here at Today’s Fastbreak, inspired by the Shaquille O’Neal–Scottie Pippen Instagram feud. Some franchises, like the Lakers, have such a rich history that it’s hard to decide among the multitude of stars who have worn their colors. Others, like the Thunder, can only put together a killer unit if we count their existence as the SuperSonics.
The Dallas Mavericks are in the middle of that spectrum. The franchise has been around for 35 years and has had a lot of great players, but something always went wrong and many of its biggest stars blossomed after leaving town. That being said, there’s still enough talent on this team — especially on the offensive end — to take on anyone else’s.
Here’s your All-Time Mavericks Starting Five.
Point guard: Steve Nash
This is a tougher call than many would think. Jason Kidd has the hardware after winning the franchise’s only title in 2011 and would have been a shoo-in had he spent his prime in Dallas instead of asking for a trade in 1997. Derek Harper has the longevity manning the spot to make a claim. Yet Nash was arguably the best of the three in his time with Dallas while also boasting the Hall of Fame credentials Kidd has.
Nash started to shine in his last four years with the Mavericks, making the All-Star team twice and forming one of the best tandems in league history with prime Dirk Nowitzki. From 2000 to 2004 he averaged 16 points and eight assists while logging two 50-40-90 shooting seasons:
It would take leaving Dallas and finding Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix to unlock Nash’s full potential, but he was still amazing as a Maverick.
Shooting guard: Rolando Blackman
Blackman spent 11 seasons as a Maverick after being drafted in 1981 and was the franchise leader in minutes played and points scored until Dirk Nowtizki came along. Blackman was a scoring machine who put up over 20 points per game in his tenure in Dallas and made the All-Star team four times:
The Mavericks reached the West Finals led by Blackman and the next player on this list, but the team could never get over the hump, which makes his resume seem less impressive than it is. He was deprived a final shot at a title when Pat Riley famously benched him in favor of John Starks when he was with the Knicks in 1994. He’s still the closest the Mavericks had to a lifer star until Nowitzki showed up, so he gets the nod here.
Small forward: Mark Aguirre
Aguirre was by all accounts a nightmare for his teammates to be around at times during his eight seasons in Dallas, but his talent as an offensive player was undeniable. He scored over 29 points per game in 1984 and notched 24.6 points per game as a Maverick:
Aguirre was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1981, ahead of Isiah Thomas, and didn’t have the Hall of Fame career his talent suggested he could, at least partially because of his attitude problems. Later on he would mature and find success with the Pistons after being traded for Adrian Dantley, which is bittersweet at best for Mavericks fans. On the court, however, there are no doubts that Aguirre was one of the best players in Dallas history.
Power forward: Dirk Nowitzki
This one is as easy to pick as they come. Nowitzki is the best player in Mavericks history and it’s not even close. He has the scoring acumen of Blackman and Aguirre while also showing the leadership and desire to win that often eluded those two. He’s also a Dallas lifer, unlike many of the talented stars the team enjoyed in the past:
Dirk changed the game with his ability to score from outside from the power forward slot and is a surefire first ballot Hall of Fame player. He led the Mavericks to the only title in franchise history and took less money after that to keep the team competitive. If not for the Spurs and the Laker, he’d likely have more rings, but no one can deny the greatness of the Big German, who’s still among the best players in the league at age 37.
Center: Tyson Chandler
The Mavericks lacked a dominant big man in the 80s (sorry, James Donaldson) and had to settle for Shawn Bradley in the 90s and early aughts while other teams enjoyed Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal. The deficit in that position continued until they brought aboard Tyson Chandler, the missing piece of the championship puzzle:
Chandler spent only two seasons as a Maverick but his impact can’t be denied in helping the franchise get the 2010-11 title. His defensive presence complemented Nowitzki perfectly, and he was one of the most efficient players in the league in his time in Dallas. Because the competition for the position isn’t strong (sorry again, James Donaldson), the 2011-12 Defensive Player of the Year sneaks into the slot.
The All-Time Mavericks will score in bunches. Nash will hopefully get Aguirre the touches he wants while the more team-oriented Blackman settles into more of a complementary role. Dirk is the centerpiece on offense, but he’s had no problem sharing the spotlight in the past and could space the floor for the other deadly scorers. Poor Chandler would have to be at his absolute best on defense for the team to have a shot against other All-Time starting fives, but the offense would be so explosive that the bad defense might not matter.