Good thing we all watched that regular season, huh?
Six games is all it took for the Dallas Mavericks to go from the best team in the NBA to, perhaps, the team facing the most questions this off-season.
If you’re Mark Cuban and company, where do you go from here? The Mavs won 67 regular season games rather easily, putting them among some elite squads when it comes to best regular season performance.
But then in the postseason, that whole heart issue popped up again.
In the 2006 Finals, Dallas had the title won if they had closed out Game 3. Instead, they got punched the mouth by Dwayne Wade (and the officials) four straight times. They said they had learned, and this entire season was supposed to vindicate that collapse.
The Golden State Warriors ripped Dallas apart, leaving everyone questioning the Mavs’ toughness and Dirk Nowitzki’s leadership. What now? Do you go out looking for players with heart, like Robert Horry and Sam Cassell? Do you ship some of your young talent for a guy like Jason Kidd? Do you keep the status quo and hope you can somehow develop heart? These are tough times in Big D, but what was already shaping up to be a fantastic NBA off-season just got a little more intriguing.
For the record, I expect Cuban to try to do something huge. Could Pat Riley convince him to take Shaq off his hands and help Miami re-build in the process? Probably not, but remember, the Mavs were in play for Shaq allegedly after the 2004 season. Most likely, they’ll put a package together for Kidd, which is a move that will help them considerably.
Elsewhere, we’re finally going to get some good matchups out East. With the exception of Toronto/New Jersey, the first round was obviously atrocious with three sweeps.
I’ve been wrong most of the way this year with predictions, but I’m going to say the winner of Chicago/Detroit will meet the winner of San Antonio/Phoenix in the NBA Finals.