Dallas Mavericks: It’s time to stop comparing everyone to the 2011 Mavs
By Kohl Rast
The 2011 Dallas Mavericks championship team is considered by many to be the most impressive, unexpected title run in NBA history. Yet, a new team is compared to those Mavs every year. Problem is, none of them are as impressive.
There is only one Dirk Nowitzki. There is only one Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson and every other player that made an impact on that historic run to the 2011 NBA Championship. There is also only one Rick Carlisle, who guided the Mavs on their journey to the top.
The NBA has made a habit of comparing every underdog in the playoffs to the 2011 Mavs team. Whether it is because they are playing a great team or because they only have one star or even just because they upset a team in the first round, there always seems to be someone who wants the next Cinderella story to compare to the original.
This year, it started as the Portland Trail Blazers. Everyone thought for sure this would be the team to knock off the Warriors in dramatic Mavs fashion because…well…they were the 3-seed. That has to count for something, right? Yes, the Blazers were coming off a disappointing year where there were high hopes for them and they exceeded expectations. But, they’re not the Mavs.
Now, it’s the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are led by a solo All-Star, just like the Mavs were…unless you count Kyle Lowry who also made the All-Star game this year. They totally exceeded expectations by beating the formidable Orlando Magic in the first round. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon are obviously on par with LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy in their primes.
Next they had the Philadelphia 76ers, a team with a lot of talent but no organization. No one expected the Sixers to top the Raptors, but they did give them a nice run. The most impressive part of the Raptors run to the NBA Finals was easily the upset of the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Even still, can we compare Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden?
If the Toronto Raptors pull off a miracle series win over the Golden State Warriors, it will be fascinating to watch and it will be one of the best upsets in NBA Finals history. But it will not account for the entire immaculate run that the Mavericks had to make.
All in all, the Mavs took down 7 All-Stars from that year alone. Three of those were first team All-NBA, three were second team and one was third team. There were 5 MVPs past and present on one of the four teams that the Mavs took down. There were also 5 Rookies of the Year, 2 Sixth Men of the Year and 4 Finals MVPs.
It is time for sports analysts and reporters to quit comparing every improbable playoff run to the Mavs in 2011. What the Raptors have done and could do will make a one-of-a-kind playoff experience that deserves to be talked about as an individual experience instead of one that looks something like what another team did years ago.
Let the Mavs win be what it was: an unbelievable, immaculate, never-before-seen run that can live in the memory of those who saw it for the rest of time. The Raptors have a chance to make their own story, but it does not have to replace what the Mavs did for those too short-sighted to just remember a great thing.