I enjoyed writing the last post about the Mavericks last season, and I wanted to do it all over again. However, this time I wanted to choose a team that gets lost in discussion. Most Mavs teams people will frequently talk about are the 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2011 squads. It would be interesting to go back and study some of the lesser talked about teams that we’ve had throughout the years. So lets begin with the 2003-2004 Dallas Mavericks:
Obviously, a reason this team isn’t talked about is because they lost in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs to the kings. Despite a 1-4 final record, the games were painstakingly close. This Kings team had Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Gerald Wallace, and Chris Webber. Not the worst team to lose to in the first round. Besides game 1, the largest Kings victory was only 4 points. It was an ultra-competitive series. As far as the Mavericks went, here are some regular season stats regarding that season:
RECORD: 52-30 (5th seed)
ORTG: 112.1 (First in the league)
PACE: 93.2 (2nd in the league)
PPG/Opp. PPG: 105.2 (1st in the league) / 100.8 (28th/29th in the league)
ATTENDANCE: 825,500 (2nd in the league)
Coached by Don Nelson, he had a stacked team of helpers. Brad Davis, Rolando Blackman, Del Harris, and Donnie Nelson were all involved in assistant coaching and/or player development.
The overall season stats show the Mavericks were a powerhouse on offense, being first in the league in FG’s, FGA’s, 2P’s, free throw shooting, and even offensive rebounding. Also, the Mavs were 3rd in field goal percentage and assists. On the contrary, they were at the absolute bottom on defense. A majority of stats relating to field goal percentages, shots taken, and ball movement all indicate defense was a big issue for this team.
In order of how many points they contributed throughout the season, here’s the roster in that order:
Dirk Nowitzki – 21.9 ppg / 8.7 rebs (lead team)
Michael Finley – 18.6 ppg
Antawn Jamison – 14.8 PPG
Antoine Walker – 14 ppg / 8.3 rebs / 4.5 AST (2nd on team)
Steve Nash – 14.5 ppg / 8.8 AST
Josh Howard – 8.6 ppg
Marquis Daniels – 8.5 ppg
Shawn Bradley – 3.3 ppg
Danny Fortson – 3.9 ppg
Tony Delk – 6 ppg
Eduardo Najera – 3 ppg
Travis Best – 2.8 ppg
Scott Williams – 3 ppg
Mamadou N’Diaye (0 points all season, nice!)
Dirk had the highest win share on the team, totaling out at 11.5. Third was Steve Nash at 8.8. Second, was actually Antawn Jamison at 9. Additionally, Nash also had by far the worst defensive win shares. Being the only player on the team in negative numbers. He also is dead last in defensive plus/minus per 100 poss. He is at -3.7, Dirk was at 0.
Looking at the playoff averages per game, Dirk stepped up in a big way averaging 26.6 PPG, Steve Nash’s numbers didn’t change much at all. Averaging slightly below 14 ppg and 9 AST.
After reading everything, you may be surprised to learn that Dirk was the 4th highest paid player on the team. First was Antoine Walker at $13.5 million, Michael Finley at $13.2 million, Antawn Jamison and Dirk had identical salaries. Both at $13.3 million. 5th was Tariq Abdul Wahad, who isn’t even listed on the roster, at $6.1 million. Sixth was Steve Nash at $5.7 million.
Looking at the numbers, it’s not hard to see why Mark Cuban would look at Steve Nash and not recognize the greatness to come. Perhaps having to prove himself in Phoenix was what made him so great. Nonetheless, the team still did reach the WCF in 2003, but after a closely fought 5 game loss to the Kings in the first round in 2004, Mark felt there was a need for change. Steve Nash was already 29 years old. His production compared to the 2 years before was down in terms of scoring, however he did average slightly more assists in his last season as a Maverick. Nash was named an all-star in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, but not in 2004. That alone could have been enough for Mark to reconsider. In hindsight, it was a giant loss. But again, that’s in hindsight and the stats could suggest a decline. A decline not significant enough to warrant moving forward with Devin Harris (who would also become an all-star on the Nets in 2009) as the point guard of the future.
If this has showed us anything, it’s that guys like Antoine Walker and Antawn Jamison get overlooked when discussing solid Mavs players that we’ve had. Especially Antoine Walker, who was all over the stat sheet.
Make sure to follow @MavsWorld_net so you don’t miss any more deep dives into old Mavs teams. Gentlemen: Be well, stay safe, go Mavs.