5. Derek Harper
Harp was the final piece the Mavericks needed to make their first playoff appearance. The 6’4 guard was the 11th overall pick by Dallas in 1983 after a 38-win season. He immediately cracked the rotation as the backup point guard behind Brad Davis. Dallas not only made the playoffs in Harper’s rookie year, but they advanced to the second round before being knocked out by the Lakers.
Harper spent two and a half seasons as the backup before taking over the starter role in the 1985-86 and not relinquishing it until he left Dallas in 1994. He was the team’s lead playmaker in 1988 when they reached the conference finals, and Harp is arguably the best point guard in Mavericks history.
Derek Harper was traded to the New York Knicks in 1994 for Tony Campbell and one first-round pick only to re-sign with the Mavericks after being released in 1996. Dallas traded him again in 1997 with Ed O’Bannon for Dennis Scott.
In total, he played parts of 12 seasons with Dallas and ranks third in games played. The 6’4 guard is the franchise’s all-time leader in assists and steals. Harper also ranks second in value over replacement player (VORP) and third in win shares. The Dallas Mavericks retired his number 12 in 2018 to further cement his status as one of the team’s best to ever do it.