We are starting to witness a likeness between the 1998-99 Chicago Bulls and the 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks…
… And it isn’t good.
In the 1997-98 NBA season, the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls triumphed over the Utah Jazz in six games. It was the Bulls sixth championship and Jordan’s sixth and last finals MVP.
It was a fitting way for the greatest basketball player to depart the game. Scottie Pippen was traded by the then General Manager Jerry Krause, along with Australian Luc Longley and Steve Kerr, the outlandish big man Dennis Rodman (would go on to sign with the LA Lakers) didn’t get an extension on his contract and the Zen Master Phil Jackson bought a one way ticket out of Chicago.
So where do the similarities lie?
Both Chicago and Dallas won their championships the season before lockouts.
The two teams both lost key players from their line-up, in this case the Bulls lost much more in terms of quality however Dallas’ departures were big in their structure.
The past we know, the future we can only predict.
Chicago had a dismal 1998-99 shortened season winning only 13 of 50 games – going 8-17 at home and 5-20 on the road. The terrible record would go a long way in securing the number one draft selection in the 1999-2000 NBA draft … that pick, F Elton Brand.
Dallas didn’t stand in the way of Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea signing contracts elsewhere shortly before the preseason commenced. They did pick up Lamar Odom from the LA Lakers.
So far this season Dallas holds a record of 0-2. The first loss suffered at the hands of the team they beat in last years finals, the Miami Heat and then against the Denver Nuggets, 93-115.
Before you start saying the season is still early, although shortened, and 0-2 isn’t a big deal, let me say this, both losses have come on their home-court. Good teams, especially championship contender teams are almost never wiped off the court at home.
The Mavericks have lost both games by a combined 33 points. The contests were over long before the start of the final quarters where we saw junk-time comebacks and bench players on the court.
This is a healthy Dallas Mavericks line-up. Sure they lost Chandler and in doing so a big body inside who competed well defensively and pulled down the boards, but a major component to why they’re playing like they’re now is because of the age factor and awful defensive pressure … any likeness to the ’06 Heat? Definitely.
Jason Kidd is in his 17th season. Vince Carter and Shawn Marion are slowing down and are not getting even near enough production from, same goes with Odom. Dirk Nowitzki said that he found it hard to get back into this season after playing in the European championships and didn’t look like the Dirk of old on Christmas day against the Heat.
Dallas next takes to the court against the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) in OKC and the NBA’s reigning scoring titleholder, Kevin Durant.
I’m ruling the Mavericks out of winning back-to-back however I believe they will still make the playoffs.