I have to say as a Mavs fan I always wanted Steve Nash to take the hometown discount and stay. In the summer of 2004 when Mr. Cuban decided that he would rather find a player that can do what Nash does for less money (and younger), Steve left for Phoenix. BTW, Cuban’s plan worked out for the Mavs initially when they were able to draft Devin Harris in the 2004 draft. Under assistant turned Head Coach Avery Johnson, Devin was getting better and better running one of the leagues highest scoring teams.
After that season, the Mavs realized that having an awesome offense and little to no defense wasn’t going to win a championship, so Avery took Dirk and told him to develop a post game and play solid D. Dirk was up for the challenge but the team was still primarily an offense first basketball team. The attitude evolved the perception of the Mavs from “take a shot with 17 seconds left on the shot clock” to “setup your offense and get the best shot available” team. There was only one thing missing, they needed another scorer that could do it all: Offense, Defense, Specia…oops wrong sport! Anyway, they went out and traded little used Tony Delk and Antoine Walker (and his no Defense) to the Atlanta Hawks for Jason Eugene Terry in 2004. The season started a little slow which is plausible, seeing as Jet spent his entire NBA life (5 seasons) with the Hawks, but he ended the season as the best guard on the Mavs. Everyone was excited for the future in which you had Dirk, Jet, and a young PG named Harris as the stars of the team. So when the 2005 team played well enough to meet up with the hated Spurs in the 2005 WC Semis, no one thought they would knock off the Perennial Champs.
To me, the best moment in that series wasn’t the and-1 Dirk lay-up at the end of regulation for Game 7 to close the series, but what happened in Game 6. Jason Terry and Michael Finley were on the floor fighting for the ball when Finley came up holding his groin. After replays were slowed down to a Shawn Bradley pace, it was evident that Jet was bringing some grit and toughness to the Mavs that had never been there. Fast forward to the 05-06 NBA Finals and the Mavs finally reached the biggest show in basketball. They played hard throughout but the refs and Wade wouldn’t allow the Mavs their first NBA Championship. After the season, everyone knew that the Mavs had the talent to win it all, but without a Robin to the big German Batman, they never would. After this season, the Mavs resigned Terry to a 6 year deal and approached him to see if he would be willing to come off the bench. He was.
The following season the Mavs won 67 games and were the #1 seed going into the 2007 playoffs. It didn’t end well; actually it was an Epic Failure as the Mavs were upset by the #8 seed. The issue the Mavs were having in the playoffs was not enough scoring. Sure, Dirk would get his, but Jet wasn’t consistently putting up his PPG and that affected the team’s offense. While Cuban and Donnie were in the lab trying different formulas for success, Dirk and Jet were the face of the franchise. After finding the right coach for the team, Jet won 2008 NBA Sixth Man of the Year. He was the best scorer (still is, sorry Harden) off the bench and could always spell Dirk when it came to scoring points. He continued to deliver strong play in this role and after getting Tyson Chandler on a one year lease, the Mavs were finally ready to make another serious run at a championship.
In the 2011 WC Semis close-out Game 4, JET tied a NBA playoff record hitting nine from downtown as the Mavs swept the defending champs. He went on to have a great 2011 Finals and was clearly the man with a chip on his shoulder. He stood up to the Miami Heat machine or Big 3 as they’re called and got in anyone’s face that was dumb enough to trash talk him. He was the second leading scorer during that run and arguably was the reason why the Mavs locked up Game 6 of the 2011 Finals on their way to their first NBA Championship. Not to mention the tattoo of the Larry O’ Brien trophy he got on his bicep before the 2011 season kicked off. He was the brash, cocky but confident player that the Mavs needed to get to the top of the mountain. He says that he would love to see his jersey in the rafters after he retires and I couldn’t agree more.
Now we all know the new CBA is causing Nellie and Cuban to really think about where the Cap Room will be, but in my opinion not re-signing Jet would be a mistake. He hasn’t lost that much from 2004 when he first came to the team, and he was the Sixth Man of the Year last regardless of what that Odom guy will tell you. I would hate to see him in a Lakers or Heat uniform next year playing against the Mavs. Of course, you have to look out for family first, so if he is offered a max deal, I wouldn’t – couldn’t be mad at him for taking it. He was one of the main factors in bringing a Championship to the city of Dallas and his fan-friendly approach to the game will never be forgotten. Jet you are loved and you will always be a Dallas Maverick. I thank you for everything you did for our beloved Mavs. I leave you with a Jet quote that pretty much sums the player and person up for me:
“Every time I step on the court I want to be up there with the best.”
Thanks for reading and GO MAVS!!
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