There is no way around it: the Dallas Mavericks experienced a colossal collapse during round one against the Golden State Warriors. And after listening to Randy Galloway on ESPN Radio and some moron on The Ticket, it sounds like the commentators have rebounded rather quickly. They don’t sound shocked. Dallas was expected to win the championship. They had 67 wins in an 82 game season. Dirk was/is the front runner for the MVP award this year. Avery Johnson should have been considered for Coach of the Year again. The Mavs had the seventh best season record in the history of the game. Jason Terry had an excellent shooting year. Josh Howard really seemed to come into his own.

So why, please tell us all, did the Mavs crumble under the first sign of playoff pressure?

The answer is so simple, and some fans have already picked up on it (to the consternation of the idiot press):

Dirk is not a winner. That’s the bottom line. Dirk doesn’t act like a winner. He doesn’t play like a winner. He plays with skill and talent, but HE HAS NO ATTITUDE. Dirk’s mentality is fine for pick-up games. But in the NBA playoffs, you absolutely MUST have attitude.

Just look at Steve Nash. He didn’t quite have the attitude in Dallas. But after his move to Phoenix, Nash had two things going for him that Dirk did not:

1. He had something to prove to the Mavericks and to himself

2. He joined a team of players with attitude

What Steve didn’t possess naturally, he gained through his teammates. Attitude rubs off on others, to some degree. It builds confidence. Playing with a beast like Amare Stoudamire injected some attitude into Steve’s game. He drank the koolaid since arriving in Phoenix, and you can tell that he expects to win.

Some schmoe calling in to a radio show after work on Friday summed it up nicely. He said that the problem for Dirk is that he’s German. It’s a completely different culture there. During Nowitski’s childhood, he didn’t face the same basketball culture that our kids face here. Basketball has become completely ego-centric on the blacktop and in rec centers around the country. Boys watch the NBA stars showboat and they idolize the ones with flair and attitude. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll notice that the biggest idols around the country are the players with attitude. Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant, Baron Davis, Tim Duncan, Shaq, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwayne Wade, and Jason Kidd all have that spark – that killer instinct.

American basketball players tend to have a chip on their shoulder. They’ve had to prove themselves every day of their lives against everyone else who acts like a star. It doesn’t always make for the best team mentality, but you want someone who knows the pressure of “Do I have what it takes?” to handle the ball when the playoffs are on the line. You want a Baron Davis, as Golden State has proven, to handle the ball and make miracles happen in the most unlikely circumstances.

And DirK? Well, Dirk is a nice guy. He’s had it too good here, and he’s soft. Forget his skill. That doesn’t even matter when we’re talking playoffs. If he can’t muster up the attitude to compete, trade him, and trade him now. As Golden State proved, you don’t need an MVP candidate on your team to beat the #1 seed. You need speed, accuracy, and attitude. It will be interesting to see how the Warriors match up with the next team. If they play Utah, lookout. That could be an adrenaline pumping series. If they play Houston, I give the edge to the Warriors because of their amazing speed.

I know that some of you will call the trade of Dirk Nowitski as an extreme overreaction. I get that. You’re loyal. You drank the koolaid. I get it. But those of us who are still objective realize that Dirk will probably be a winner, but he’ll be a winner somewhere else. If he’s going to have a chance at a championship, Dirk needs to be traded and feel like he has something to prove, just like his buddy Nash (who, consequently, never won MVP until he moved away from Dallas).

I loved the Mavs for the very reason that they can’t win a championship: they’re a nice team. They’re nice guys. They’re polite, and humble. I love that attitude. But they don’t act like they’re better than anyone else. They don’t ooze confidence. They’re like teenage boys still unsure and hoping someone else will validate them. So make some trades now, Dallas, if you want to keep your fans from jumping ship.

7 responses to “The Great Collapse of the Dallas Mavericks”

  1. FYI, a coworker of mine, who shall remain nameless so he doesn’t whine about links, suggested that we get Tracy McGrady either to replace Dirk or to play alongside. We’d probably have to trade, since McGrady’s not cheap, but either way, he’d bring the killer instinct we’re missing right now.

  2. McGrady is injury prone(just like some one else i know) and has never made it out of the first round of the play offs Screw that -the guy doesnt love the game and is over rated- what we neeed is a Dwight Howard type player- or for the mavs to paly w/ some back bone- same ol story in dallas- but dont under mind Dirk and Avery there gonna come back w/ a vengence- all the other Mavs although it might not be fair have Job security issues- we need guards who can defend players like Wade and Baron ” the Body Guard ” Davis- Devin got into foul trouble and so did the jet- 1 and 2 spots are up for grabs mavs will make a trade to get a ron artest type player a solid #2 instead of playing jet at the #2 spot – if any bodies going to go its gonna be #31 or #34 i am sure the mavs will switch up the role players a bit also- probably wont see stackhouse or croshere next year either -buckners probably gone to0 -might be seeing Najera back in the mix in Dallas. it will be an interesting off season thats for sure!

  3. First of all, McGrady can handle the pressure. He did everything possible to defeat the Mavs three seasons ago in the playoffs. He played as well as Baron Davis did in this year’s bout with the Mavericks.

    Second, I may have been injury prone in the past, but at least I have enough lung left to play! (ooooh! take that, old man)

    Third, of course we need the Mavs to play with some backbone – which is precisely the reason why we need to make roster changes. The current team doesn’t have the killer instinct we need.

    Fourth, the Mavs need 2 key players right now if we’re not going to trade Dirk. We need the point guard and the shooting guard. Devin Harris is my favorite player on the team, but he has a limited time frame to prove himself. They need to start him and make him play 40 minutes per game. He gets one year to show us enough promise to stay.

    No one else gets that leniency. If Dirk is your man, which I still disagree with, then you build around Dirk, Devin, and Diop. You trade Terry off to someone for some picks. You release Stackhouse and Croshere (not sure how to spell his name, and it doesn’t matter).

    I want two killer guards or one killer guard and one killer forward. I prefer the split, so we have some penetrating power.

    Granted, I’m no expert on contracts and dollar amounts, so I can’t even say who besides Stackhouse is a free agent.

    All things considered, I say we keep the bench and trade Dirk, Terry, and Howard. Josh could be a very good player somewhere else, if he manages to develop the star mentality. Otherwise, he’ll always play a supporting role. Give me two real leaders and I’ll build around them (McGrady and Garnett). If I can have Devin Harris, Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Diop, and another random starter, I’ve got a team worth watching.

    That’s my fantasy starting five – except I don’t have a realistic 5th. To afford McGrady and Garnett, we’d have to give up the “big three” plus Stackhouse. Heck, I’ll take Barea and Auger and give them each a chance to prove themselves.

    Tell me why we need Dirk? Setting records in the regular season means nothing if you can’t win a championship. I say trade him while his value is still at its peak.

  4. I disagree. I think Garnett is like Nash – a great player who just needs a new team setting and supporting cast to find his greatness.

    And I don’t know why you’re so down on McGrady when you’ve always had a soft spot for thuggish Artest, one of the league’s players most likely to be incarcerated.

    And Kenyon Martin? Please! He doesn’t hold a candle to Garnett. I’m looking for automatic skill, leadership, and killer instinct. My two picks have that. Maybe Ron Artest does too, and I’m okay with him, but he’s a bit too ex-con for me.

    And Mike Bibby? Forget it. He’s not worth it. He’d turn out to be no better than Jason Terry. And I’m not down on Terry – he did play well this season. But he’s not the guy for me when it comes to playoff pressure and team leadership down the stretch.

    You know who I take in a heartbeat that no one else will agree with? Carmelo Anthony. Obviously, Denver wouldn’t get rid of young talent like that, but if they did, I’d take him as my Dirk replacement in a heartbeat. But that’s not even an option, so I stick with McGrady and Garnett.

  5. All valid points we agree on some of the same things- Dirk-Josh-Terry all have maxed out contracts-I believe Devin Harris does also -you cant play Devin 40 minutes because he takes himself out of the game with foul trouble- sometimes getting 2 in the first 5 minutes- if you trade dirk your gonna get less back because of his contract- Garnett is old and washed up and his numbers are less than what dirks numbers are at this point in there careers- josh has validated his identity as legitimate all-star in this league hes the most consistent all round player on the team hes not going any where- and shouldn’t hes still young and developing hes 23 or 24 that guy will be gold 2 years from now and will upstage dirk- if the Mavs could do something to get Ron Artest and maybe Mike Bibby here to play along side Dirk , Devin, Diop, and Josh it would be more ideal and realistic as far as the dollars are concerned probably a better fit also- also keep an eye on what Denver’s going to do w/ Kenyon Martin cuz hes not going to stay in Denver. But Kevin Garnet and T-Mac it ain’t going to happen and thank God for that it would be a ticket selling temporary disaster-

  6. get vince carter in here. at least he aint scared of the basket like all these girls we got here. maybe they”l learn something!

  7. i would rather have vince as our leader and let mark pour all of his resources into building around him than having dirk as our soft leader whos scared of 6-5 to 6-8 defenders. i luv u dirk but this aint europe.

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