30 Greatest Dallas Mavericks players in franchise history

Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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14. James Donaldson

Donaldson was a fourth-round pick in the 1979 draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, and he played one year overseas before coming to the NBA. The 7’2 big man was a backup for his first three seasons before he was traded to the Clippers. J.D. started for two and a half seasons until he was dealt to Dallas in 1985.

The Mavericks needed rebounding and rim protection to support Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman, Derek Harper, Sam Perkins, Jay Vincent, and Brad Davis. Donaldson provided it, and he became a key piece of the Mavericks' success. They reached the playoffs in each of his first three years, including making the conference finals in 1988 where they lost in seven games to the eventual champion Lakers. 1988 was Donaldson’s lone All-Star season.

He played parts of seven seasons with the Mavericks where he averaged 8.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 32.2 minutes per game. Donaldson was traded to the New York Knicks in 1992, and he played just two more years in the NBA before heading overseas to finish his playing career.

James Donaldson is second in rebounds and third in blocks in Mavs history, and he has played the 13th most games with the team. The 7’2 big man was a finishing piece in the team’s early run, and he made a massive impact during his stay in Dallas.