Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban Should Trade Dirk Nowitzki

Max FischerCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2007

Mark Cuban has painted his team into a corner, and now that they are in that corner the only way to get out of that corner is to get rid of arguably the best player in the league. How can I say the Mavs have the best player in the league and yet they have to get rid of him to be successful? Because of horrible GMing on Mark Cuban's part.  Because of Cuban's impatience and trying to win as quickly as possible and, due to his ignorance about everything basketball, he didn't know what he had and therefore didn't understand how to build around it..

The problem with the Mavs right now, the problem that they can't fix, is that Dirk is the MOST UNconventional and REVOLUTIONARY player in the NBA.. maybe even in NBA history.. yet he is surrounded by the most conventional team and coach imaginable.

Because Dirk is a big man that plays like a guard you can't build a team around him in the conventional manner. For Dirk to be his best he needs a center next to him that does the things that Dirk doesn't do very well. Things a conventional bigman does. Such as low post scoring and shot blocking.

I've devised a little system to illustrate how the Mavs need to be constructed. Let's say that a star represent a players value -- their talent level -- and let's say there are 3 colors of stars: red, orange and yellow.

red       represents the highest talent level
orange  represents a moderate talent level
yellow   represents an average talent level

A conventional team is built in the model of the Shaq Kobe Lakers..
everyone else on the Lakers more or less average - yellow


So you have a great inside player and a great outside player. This creates a dynamic that makes the sum greater than the parts. The Spurs have the same kind of dynamic.. but a tiny bit different..

Manu and Parker-both would be orange stars..

This creates the same kind of dynamic of Shaq and Kobe.. but with 2 orange stars equaling Kobe's red.


You have the same thing with Shaq and Wade in Miami..

everyone else yellow

The Mavs as currently constructed have a system like this..

CC Dampier/Diop yellow
PF Dirk-red
SF Josh yellow very slightly orange
SG Stack yellow very slightly orange
PG Terry yellow very slightly orange

This is a one man team. This is how teams can swarm Dirk and the Mavs are exposed as a one-man-team. if Anything.. the talented players on the Mavs are guards. But they aren't very good, so when teams take Dirk out of the game they are putting the ball in these poor scorers hands, these redundant players that do the same things Dirk does, but much worse.

If Dirk was a conventional power forward you would want another red star perimeter player like a Kobe or Wade to complement him, but because Dirk isn't a dominant post player this isn't correct. So this is how Dirk needs his team built..

CC red
PF Dirk-red
SF yellow
SG yellow
PG yellow

The reason for this is Dirk plays more like a guard. A GREAT guard. The most dominant guard in the league. Dirk is a guard that can shoot over anyone and can't be guarded by 7 footers or he will blow by them, so you have to put guards on him to prevent him from penetrating. This then turns Dirk into a dominant post players. Which is why he is doubled and tripled on the post constantly.


So, because Dirk is a super-guard he is the perimeter red star. So to build around him properly you need the interior red star and everything else is wasted. Everything else is redundant, and that's the way the Mavs are currently built.


Also, with Dirk, if you have a dominant post player WITH Dirk, it puts a ton of pressure on the opposing bigs. It forces teams to match up with Dirk in the right way. Because the Mavs don't have a center like this it takes the opposing team off the hook. They can put bigs other places on the floor and hide them. If you have the team built properly the team can't do this, they can't hide anyone.

If you have the team built improperly, as it is now, you are taking the ball out of Dirk's hands. You aren't building the team in such a way that Dirk can lead the team. He is just a facilitator. And you are forcing the role players to be the leaders of the team.

A perfect example of how to build around Dirk is being done in Toronto.. Bargnani and Bosh are the exact type of dynamic that Dirk needs and has never had in his career. this is the exact dynamic I am talking about, but, actually, I feel Bosh and Bargnani are more orange than red..

CC Bosh - orangish red
PF Bargnani - orangish red

But this creates that dynamic -- inside-outside -- Just like Shaq-Wade or Duncan-Parker/Ginobli.. but it does it in an entirely new way. And really a better way IMO. Both Bargnani and Bosh will look as great as they possibly can in this dynamic. They will make each other look as good as they possibly can and will put so much pressure on the opposing frontcourt they will foul them out and create all kinds of havoc. This is why we haven't yet seen anything close to Dirk's full potential. If you don't have a team that complements you fully you will never see how good a player can be.

This is why Nash looks so incredible on the Suns, he couldn't have a team that complements him more perfectly, and guess which GM built both these teams, the Nash/Amare Suns and Bosh/Bargnani Raptors. The same guy. And he built both teams through the draft. Nash was a free agent but he was the crowning jewel. He also fleeced both Cuban and Isiah Thomas to build that suns team.

Now here's the biggest problem the Mavs face.. the Mavs have been trying to get this inside presence to pair with Dirk since they have had Dirk, but Cuban is unable to. He has no pieces to trade for one, and he has been unable to get one through a trade. And because he is capped out he can't sign one as a free agent.


So now Cuban has this incredibly conventional team, and incredibly conventional coach, and an incredibly conventional system. This is why Dirk looked so terrible in the playoffs this season, because the team doesn't complement Dirk at all, and the system doesn't use Dirk's unique talents at all. They are just completely wasted because Avery tries to use Dirk like Tim Duncan , offensive rebounding, posting up constantly.  Not using Dirk
as a perimeter scorer and not using his shooting to spread the floor.  Dirk needs to be used like Kobe or Allen Iverson, but Avery is using him like any other conventional power forward and it's not working.  Because Dirk is just a normal power forward if he isn't using his unique gifts.  In fact, the way the Mavs have built the team and are using Dirk, many times he looks like a subpar power forward. Because he can't even use his skills and gifts.  Dirk's trying to be something he isn't.  If Dirk had been used like this when he first came into the league he would have ended up back in Germany. He never would have had a chance to show what he can do.  


The reality is that it is easier now to just trade Dirk for a lesser conventional player than it is to keep Dirk and try to figure out some way to blow the team up and put all the new players that need to be around Dirk and find a coach brilliant enough and UN-conventional enough to make Dirk as good as he can be. The Mavs don't even have a GM smart enough to figure out how to build around Dirk anymore, Cuban is basically the GM and he doesn't even understand how to build a conventional team, let alone a team to complement Dirk, and Avery wouldn't know how to use the correct roster anyway even if he had it.


The bottom line is there's no going back. The Mavs can't get Nellie back. They can't get another Nellie. They can't get Nash back. They can't get the player they need to pair with Dirk, because the only way you can get those players is through the draft.  At some point Cuban decided he wanted to make a conventional team.  It's time for him to finally finish the transformation and replace the Mavs ultra-UNconventional star with an ultra conventional one.. for everyone's sake.