10 Greatest NBA Finals performers in Dallas Mavericks history

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
6 of 10

5. Tyson Chandler

One of the reasons the Dallas Mavericks brought home the trophy in 2011 was their defense. In the Finals, they held the Miami Heat below 100 points in five out of the six matches, thanks in large part to defensive anchor Tyson Chandler.

The former No. 2 pick recorded 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, and a combined 2.4 steals and blocks per contest, but his value to the Mavs went beyond the stats. Aside from his rebounding and rim protection, he also made the Heat pay for overexerting on defense by being elite as a lob threat.

His best game arguably came in the decisive Game 4, as he put up 13 points and 16 rebounds to help Dallas tie the series at 2-2. Chandler helped limit LeBron James to eight points and hurt Miami with his plethora of offensive boards and putbacks.

Dirk Nowitzki once paid tribute to his former teammate, calling him the 2010-11 Mavs' "emotional leader."

Perhaps the most concrete evidence of Chandler's impact was after Dallas gave up on him way too soon in the 2011 offseason in a cap-clearing move to chase high-profile free agents. Without him, the Mavs' defense and rebounding suffered, and they got swept out of the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder. As for the California native, he won his lone Defensive Player of the Year award as a member of the New York Knicks.

Hopefully, Dereck Lively II (and even Daniel Gafford) can pick up plenty of lessons under his mentorship.