The Dallas Mavericks entered the league as an expansion team in 1980. Like most expansion teams, they struggled mightily. They didn’t post their first winning season or playoff berth until 1984, their 4th season in existence. They would qualify for the playoffs for the next 5 seasons in a row. However, by 1990, most of their stars had been exiled from the team, whether by trade or free agency.
The Mavericks' turnaround didn’t begin until the arrival of new Owner Mark Cuban and Head Coach/General Manager Don Nelson. Cuban immediately upgraded the Mavs facilities and turned Dallas into a desirable destination for potential free agents. Over the years, the Mavs have been home to many all-time greats, coaches, and role players. We see no difference now with superstar Luka Doncic leading the 2022 Mavs to the Western Conference Finals in just his 4th season behind fantastic performances from his role players and amazing coaching from a new head coach, Jason Kidd.
Here is a full all-time Dallas Mavericks lineup with five starters, a full bench, and even a coach.
Guard - Jason Kidd
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 10.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 8.4 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 3x All-Star, All-Rookie 1st team, Hall Of Fame
Throughout his career, Jason Kidd was one of the most consistent floor generals. In two separate stints in Dallas, Kidd took on a pivotal leadership role both on and off the floor. His offensive numbers may not jump off the page at you, but he certainly made his presence felt and impacted the game heavily on both sides of the ball. The first stint from 1995 to 1997 did not end too well despite being teamed with Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn to form the “Three J’s”.
Kidd’s second stint in Dallas from 2008 to 2012 went way smoother. Kidd was much more mature and came from New Jersey where he had helped the Nets reach the Finals. At 38 years old, Kidd averaged over 37 MPG to help lend a veteran hand to deliver the Mavs a title. With his exceptionally high basketball IQ and elite playmaking, Kidd will go down undoubtedly a top 10 PG in league history. Now, Jason Kidd has transitioned his IQ to coaching with the Mavs, helping lead them to their first Western Conference Finals since 2011.
Guard - Luka Doncic
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 26.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 2019 ROTY, 3x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Team Selection
I know at just 22 years old, it might be a little hard to fathom having Luka here already, but come on. His versatility, clutch buckets, and the absence of fear in big moments give Luka his rightful spot as a starter in this lineup. In just his 4th season, Luka has already become the Mavericks' all-time leader in triple-doubles and he is number one in PPG as well. He is also the youngest star in history to earn multiple All-NBA selections and lead the league in triple-doubles.
The only qualms that people seem to have with Luka are superficial and don’t matter on a basketball court. Before 2022, the biggest knock Luka had on him was that he was unable to lead the Mavs past the first round. Now in 202, Luka has the team just 4 wins away from the finals as they get set to take on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. He has done all of this while posting an unbelievable 32.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 8.3 APG for his career in the playoffs. Special.
Forward - Mark Aguirre
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 24.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Career Achievements (with the Mavericks): 3x All-Star
Mark Aguirre was the first prolific scorer in Mavs history. Drafted No. 1 in 1981, Aguirre set the league on fire from the jump. Aguirre can be credited in part for putting the Mavs on the map in the 80s. In 1984, he was second in the league in scoring with 29.5 PPG, leading the Mavs to their first postseason berth.
In 5 of his full 7 seasons with the team, Aguirre led them to the playoffs. Also in those 7 full seasons, he averaged over 22 PPG in 6 of them. These numbers become more impressive when you realize that Aguirre was the focal point of defensive game plans night in and night out, often being double-teamed a majority of the time. Aguirre may be more known for his 2 titles with the Pistons, but his contributions to the Mavs will live on forever throughout franchise history.
Forward - Dirk Nowitzki
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 2007 NBA MVP, 2011 Finals MVP, 14x All-Star, 12x All-NBA Team Selection, 2023 Hall Of Fame
This man needs no introduction. As it stands right now, Dirk Nowitzki is still the greatest player to ever don the Mavericks uniform. The 7-footer wowed audiences for 20 years with his incredible shooting touch and signature one-legged fadeaway. The German legend ranks 6th all-time in Points in league history and played the entirety of his career with Dallas.
How could we ever forget 2011? The magical run that cemented Dirk as a Top 5 Power Forward to ever play the game. Dirk led the team in the playoffs, averaging 27.7 PPG and 7.8 RPG while delivering the franchise's first title and claiming Finals MVP. Dirk was never a defensive stopper, but it didn’t matter when he contributed the things he did on the other end. He was easily one of the most gifted scorers and the toughest matchups in league history.
Center - Kristaps Porzingis
Career (with the Mavericks): 20.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): None
This selection should ruffle some feathers. Porzingis was criticized heavily for his play in Dallas, seemingly disappearing in big spots. It was not all bad, however. Porzingis was a consistent scorer for the Mavs when healthy. In his 3 seasons with the team, he eclipsed the 20 PPG mark each season. The KP selection to the ALl-Time lineup shouldn’t be so controversial when you realize that no other center has put those types of numbers up in franchise history.
“The Unicorn” had some big moments for the Mavs during his tenure. Clutch buckets igniting the team around him to rally was an occasion that wasn’t super frequent, but it did happen. He also could change the course of the game on the defensive end of the ball, altering and blocking shots due to his large and over 7-foot frame. Porzingis didn't live up to expectations, but he still performed well enough to land him here.
Guard - Steve Nash
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 14.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 7.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 2x All-Star, Hall Of Fame
I know it seems pretty odd to have one of the greatest playmakers in NBA history come off the bench, but the truth is, Nash wasn’t Nash until he got to Phoenix. He was still productive and trending toward that MVP form, but did not quite bottle it until he left Dallas. Nash is still one of the most efficient shooters and best playmakers in Dallas history. He shot an amazing 89.8 percent from the free-throw line and was a 41% 3-point shooter. There is a case to be made that Nash under-achieved in Dallas considering the talent he was surrounded with, but is still one of the greats in franchise history.
Guard - Jason Terry
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 16.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 2009 Sixth Man Of The Year
How can you not love Jason Terry? Terry was a huge spark for the Mavs for 8 seasons off the bench. He was the 2009 Sixth Man Of The Year, going for a career-high 19.6 PPG. Who could ever forget him getting the Larry O’Brien trophy tattoo before the season started in 2011, boldly predicting the Mavs title run? To top it off, Terry outscored the almighty LeBron James 108-107 in the Finals. Everyone could use Jason Terry off the bench.
Guard - Rolando Blackman
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 4x All-Star
Rolando Blackman brought a serious level of consistency to the Mavs. Along with Mark Aguirre, Blackman helped put the Mavs on the map, leading them to 5 straight postseason berths in the 80s. He even helped the Mavs advance to their first Western Conference Finals in 1988. At the time of his retirement, Blackman held the Mavs franchise record for points (16,643) and field goals made (6,487) until they were broken by Dirk in 2008. Maybe even more impressive is that in over 800 career games, he never fouled out once.
Forward - Michael Finley
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 19.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): 2x All-Star
Michael Finley could very well be one of the most underrated players in NBA history. From 1998 to 2002, Finley averaged over 20 PPG and 5 RPG for 5 straight seasons. This included back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2000 and 2001. Finley was a smooth operator on the floor and could pull up from the midrange with ease while being able to blow by you off the dribble. A true scoring threat whose game flies severely under the radar of modern-day fans and analysts.
Center - Tyson Chandler
Career Stats (with the Mavericks): 10.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Achievements (with the Mavericks): None
Tyson Chandler only played 2 seasons in Dallas, but the 2011 stint alone makes him an easy pick to come off the bench in this lineup. His ferocity on the boards and defense led him to finish 2nd in DPOY voting while with the team in 2011. He would win it the next season with the New York Knicks. It was Chandler’s big-play ability on both sides of the ball that would prove to be pivotal in the capture of the 2011 championship. His ability to shut down big time, playoff centers, and alter shots from guards with his interior presence was unmatched en route to his only career NBA title.
Coach - Rick Carlisle
To be truthful, this was a tough decision between Carlisle and Don Nelson. As much as Nelly is beloved, Carlisle is the right choice here. Carlisle is the franchise All-Time leader in regular-season wins (513) and playoff wins (27). There is also the fact that he is the only Mavs coach to ever coach his team to a championship. Carlisle’s ability to gain control of the Mavs locker room and get the most out of the players that surrounded Dirk in 2011 to win the title will live on forever in Mavs and NBA history.
Dallas Mavericks Have An Offensive Powerhouse
There can be no denying that the Mavericks' all-time lineup is an offensive powerhouse. The backcourt of Kidd and Luka is enough to get chills thinking about the possibilities with their playmaking and ability to read a defense, not to mention Luka’s scoring. Aguirre is a pure scorer who is a tough matchup for any small forward looking to step up. When you get to the frontcourt, you have 2 7-footers who can stretch the floor and knock it down with almost unlimited range in Dirk and Porzingis. This team will have zero issues putting points on the board in any matchup.
Defensively, this team will have some issues. Jason Kidd is going to be their best perimeter defender and their only defender who can take an opposing team's 1 or 2 guards in isolation sets. As for interior defense, there are glaring issues which is what makes Tyson Chandler so valuable off the bench. Dirk has always been very average at best on the defensive side of the ball, not reliable against other top Power Forwards at the time. As for Porzingis, he still is an above-average weak-side help defender, but can he be trusted 1-on-1 on the other team’s center? No.
All in all, the Mavs have a very potent offense and a sub-par defensive lineup. The bench and Rick Carlisle’s schemes would be the keys to victory for Dallas with this roster. As mentioned before, Tyson Chandler is the key player or “X-factor” off the bench who can bail out Dallas’s lack of interior defense. This is also true for Michael Finley, who could eat up some serious minutes off the bench as a key perimeter defender. Nash and Terry provide the offensive spark needed when Kidd and Doncic need to rest. The Mavericks lineup may not look great when stacked up against other franchises, but they are gonna battle for all 48 minutes.