NBA - SOUTHWEST
Arena: American Airlines Center
Coach: Jason Kidd
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
Dallas Mavericks Summary
The Dallas Mavericks franchise came into existence as an expansion franchise for the 1980-81 NBA season and has had some solid success over the years, winning one NBA title and playing in the NBA Finals a total of two times. Current owner Mark Cuban has had majority ownership of the team since 2000, and the team has been a title contender for much of the time he’s been in power.
The current squad has one of the biggest stars in the game today in guard Luka Doncic, who is a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate. The 22-year-old is only in his fourth NBA season, so the future is bright for him and the entire Dallas franchise.
Dallas Mavericks History
The Dallas Mavericks were awarded to owner Donald Carter for the 1980-81 NBA season, the first expansion by the league since it merged with the American Basketball Association prior to the 1976-77 season. Dallas had a rough start, with its first draft pick, Kiki Vandeweghe, refusing to play for the team and forcing a trade to the Denver Nuggets.
Dallas had the first overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, selecting Mark Aguirre, who became a perennial All-Star by his third season. Aguirre teamed with Derek Harper, Dale Ellis, and Rolando Blackman to get the Mavericks to the postseason for the first time in 1983-84, beginning a string of five straight playoff appearances.
The run peaked in the 1987-88 campaign with a run to the Western Conference finals, where the Mavericks took the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games before falling. The team had some troubles beginning the next season, with Aguirre getting traded away and sixth man Roy Tarpley being suspended for drug use. The team would make the playoffs in 1989-90 but get swept in the first round, which was followed by a 10-year playoff drought.
During that drought, the team drafted Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn with the No. 4 pick in consecutive drafts, followed by Jason Kidd with the No. 2 pick in 1994. The three were thought to be able to bring Dallas back to the postseason, especially after Kidd was the co-Rookie of the Year in 1994-95. But internal strife between the three caused the breakup of the group, with none of them around by the next postseason appearance by the franchise.
Don Nelson was brought on as head coach in 1997-98, and the team began to improve. A trade for point guard Steve Nash and a trade on draft night 1998 for the rights to German Dirk Nowitzki started to get the ball rolling, and forward Michael Finley completed a solid three players to build around. The team got back to the postseason in 2000-01, beginning a string of 12 straight appearances.
Dallas got back to the Western Conference finals in 2002-03 but fell to the San Antonio Spurs in six games. Three seasons later, with former NBA guard Avery Johnson as the head coach, the Mavericks made the next step, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time. Dallas went up 2-0 on the Miami Heat but lost the next four games to come up short for the title.
Nowitzki was named league MVP the following season, but the top-seeded Mavericks, who had won 67 games in the regular season, were upset in the first round by the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors. A second straight first-round loss the next season brought a change at coach, as Rick Carlisle was brought in to replace Johnson.
The team brought back Kidd and acquired center Tyson Chandler, and in 2011, the Mavericks were back in the NBA Finals. Again facing the Heat, Dallas came out on top this time, winning the series in six games behind a Finals MVP performance by Nowitzki, earning the first league title for the franchise.
The bottom fell out the following season, as the Mavericks struggled to make the postseason and were swept in the first round. Dallas made the playoffs four of the five seasons after its title, but it didn’t win a single playoff series in that span. Two years out of the postseason brought a high draft pick in 2018, which the Mavericks used on guard Trae Young, who was promptly traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to guard Luka Doncic.
The Slovenian youngster was a sensation from the start of his NBA career, winning NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 2018-19, but the team has yet to win another playoff series despite making the postseason the last two years.
2021-22 Key Stats
The Mavericks are hoping this is the season that guard Luka Doncic is able to taste some playoff success. Jason Kidd has been brought in as the head coach, replacing Rick Carlisle after a 13-season run at the helm.
The development of Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis is the key for Dallas, though the two have had their troubles being on the court at the same time. Porzingis played just 43 games last season after appearing in 57 the previous year, which came after he sat out a season with a torn left ACL.
Championships Won by the Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have had quite a bit of success in their first 41 seasons of existence, including an NBA title. Dallas advanced to the 2011 NBA Finals to face the Miami Heat and fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 in the series before winning three straight to earn the first league title in franchise history. Forward Dirk Nowitzki averaged 26.0 points and 9.7 rebounds to earn NBA Finals MVP honors.
Dallas has won the Western Conference title once before, also facing the Heat in the NBA Finals in 2006. The Mavericks won the first two games of the series at home, but Miami rallied with four straight victories to take the title.
The Mavericks have won four division titles in franchise history, with the first coming in the Midwest Division in 1986-87. The team moved to the Southwest Division for the 2004-05 campaign and has taken the title three times, including the 2020-21 crown.
Important Team Events
A pair of draft-day trades have turned the fortunes of the Mavericks in a great way. In 1998, the Mavericks held the No. 6 pick and selected Michigan forward Robert Traylor. But minutes later, the rights to Traylor were dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks for the rights to forward Dirk Nowitzki, a German player who some had their doubts about. Nowitzki became the team’s all-time leading scorer, earned an NBA MVP award, and led the Mavericks to their first NBA title.
Another controversial move by the team was in the 2018 draft when it drafted guard Trae Young with the No. 4 pick and sent his rights to the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 3 pick, Slovenian guard Luka Doncic. The move was a win-win for both teams, with Young becoming a perennial All-Star and Doncic immediately making the Mavericks a playoff and title contender with his all-around play. Doncic won Rookie of the Year honors in 2018-19 and continues to be one of the top players in the league.
The debate over the top player in Mavericks’ history is very short, as forward Dirk Nowitzki did nearly everything for the team over his 21 seasons in a Dallas uniform. The franchise leader in scoring, rebounding and blocks was a 14-time All-Star, was an All-NBA first-team selection four times (among 12 appearances on the three teams), won the 2007 NBA MVP award, and the 2011 NBA Finals MVP award, and is the face of the franchise even today.
Forward Mark Aguirre had a lot of expectations when he was the No. 1 overall pick out of DePaul in 1981, but he lived up to them in his Mavericks career. Aguirre earned three All-Star nods and averaged 24.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in leading Dallas to the postseason five times in his seven-plus seasons with the team.
Guard Rolando Blackman was another standout performer from the franchise’s early days, spending 11 seasons with the team and helping it to six playoff appearances. Blackman is the second all-time scorer in franchise history with 16,643 points and is seventh among all Mavericks players in shooting percentage (.497) despite being primarily a jump shooter. Blackman made four All-Star appearances and was a clutch player in the team’s first decade of existence.
Rick Carlisle took over an already strong Mavericks team in 2008 and made it even better, getting the team to the NBA Finals in his third season and earning Dallas its first NBA title. Carlisle spent 13 seasons at the helm of the team, racking up a franchise-best 555 regular-season wins and 33 postseason victories.
The only Coach of the Year award won by a Dallas Mavericks head coach was earned by Avery Johnson in the 2005-06 season. That was the season that Dallas advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time, and Johnson’s fiery spirit was a part of that team. Johnson finished with a franchise-best .735 winning percentage in the regular season.
Dick Motta was the first coach of the Mavericks franchise, and he helped mold the team from an expansion squad to a perennial playoff participant. Motta was at the helm of the team from 1980-81 to 1986-87, then returned to the bench for two seasons in 1994-95 and 1995-96, winning a total of 329 regular-season games and 11 playoff contests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dirk Nowitzki scored 31,560 points in his 21 seasons with the Mavericks, the most in franchise history.
Only one Dallas Mavericks player has ever won the NBA MVP award: Dirk Nowitzki in 2006-07.
The Mavericks have played in the NBA Finals twice – both against the Miami Heat – losing in 2006 but winning the title in 2011.
Rick Carlisle won 555 regular-season games in his 13 seasons as the coach of the Mavericks, the most in franchise history.
The Mavericks have held the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft just once, taking Mark Aguirre with the top pick in the 1981 draft.