Time for some crow. I prefer mine braised with a nice port wine reduction, but nonetheless it is time to eat some.
Back before the start of the season, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was talking about his team’s depth and how that was going to make things different this year.
This is a really, really special opportunity for us. We’re going to have the deepest team in the NBA by far. I think our second unit, J.J. (Barea), Jet, and probably Shawn Marion or Caron Butler switching back and forth with the second unit with rookie Dominique Jones playing the three, Tyson Chandler playing the four and Brendan (Haywood) or Ian (Mahini) playing the five. Our second unit could beat a lot of first units. We’re going to have so much depth that it’s really going to give us an advantage this year. All our guys are coming in with one focus only and that’s to win a championship. That’s the goal. “
I was among many that scoffed at the idea that Dallas’ depth would matter all that much when they ran into the Lakers or other powers in the postseason — depth was great for the regular season but what mattered in the playoffs was having the elite players. When the playoffs came and the rotations shortened all that depth would not help, Dallas lacked the real high-end talent needed to win. Dallas had one elite player, but the Lakers had more.
Right now Miami has more, too.
And it hasn’t mattered, Dallas’ depth has won out. The depth has mattered because throughout the playoffs different guys have stepped up as needed. The depth has mattered because all of the guys have been committed on the defensive end. The depth has mattered because it can be used to create matchup problems and Rick Carlisle has managed that like a master conductor with a symphony. Dallas may only have one soloist (true elite player) in front of that orchestra, but with the right support they can make amazing music.
Mark Cuban was right. His depth, even if it does not end up winning the NBA title this season, has won the argument and reminded us what great team play can accomplish. How a team can be greater than the sum or its parts.
So hand me the crow. And at least some ketchup.