The Dallas Mavericks’ Journey: From 2011 Champions to 2023 NBA Finals Contenders

The Mavericks' Journey: From 2011 Champions to 2023 Contenders

Dallas Mavericks


Explore the Dallas Mavericks’ journey from their 2011 NBA Championship to their quest for the 2023 Finals. Learn about the support from former champions, key player impacts, and expert predictions.

It’s been 13 long years since the Dallas Mavericks made their mark in the NBA Finals, clinching the championship title in 2011. That victory is etched in the memories of fans and players alike. While the current Mavericks team is on a quest to replicate that success, the champions of 2011 remain integral to this journey, providing support and inspiration.

The Support of the 2011 Champions

The Brotherhood of the 2011 Team

The 2011 Mavericks were not just a team; they were a brotherhood. Players like Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, whose names are immortalized on the championship banner at the American Airlines Center, have maintained a lifelong bond. This camaraderie has carried over into their support for the current Mavericks.

Jason Kidd’s Camaraderie with Dirk Nowitzki

Before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, current coach Jason Kidd spent time at Dirk Nowitzki’s house. Kidd, who played a pivotal role in the 2011 championship, continues to draw on the strength of these relationships. This camaraderie provides him with a mental break from the pressures of coaching, while also reinforcing the spirit of the championship team.

Comparing the 2011 and 2023 Teams

Kidd’s Light-hearted Comparison

When asked to compare the 2011 team with the current roster, Kidd couldn’t resist a playful jab. “I’d say the ’11 team was better for sure because I was on it,” he quipped. His neighborly bond with Dirk Nowitzki only strengthens his bias.

Analyzing the Differences: Experience vs. Youth

On a more serious note, Kidd highlighted the differences between the two teams. The 2011 Mavericks were seasoned veterans who understood their roles and sacrificed for the greater good. In contrast, the 2023 team is youthful and brimming with talent. While the 2011 team’s experience was invaluable, the current squad’s energy and potential are their biggest assets.

The Spirit of Sacrifice in Both Teams

The Role of Sacrifice in 2011

The 2011 championship was characterized by players who embraced their roles, even if they felt they could contribute more. This selflessness was key to their success, allowing them to overcome injuries and maintain a “next-man-up” mentality.

Parallels in the Current Team

Similarly, the 2023 Mavericks have shown a willingness to sacrifice. Players are stepping up in the absence of injured teammates, echoing the resilience and adaptability of the 2011 squad. This shared spirit of sacrifice is a powerful link between the two eras.

The Influence of Former Champions

The Continued Presence of Jason Terry and Shawn Marion

Jason Terry, known affectionately as “Jet,” and Shawn Marion, or “Trix,” remain actively involved with the team. Terry’s presence at games and Marion’s daily texts provide a steady stream of encouragement. Their ongoing involvement underscores the lasting impact of the 2011 championship.

Emotional and Moral Support from the 2011 Veterans

These veterans offer more than just moral support. They bring a wealth of experience and a reminder of what’s possible. Their belief in the current team fuels the players’ confidence and determination to carve out their own legacy.

Mavericks' Journey

Maxi Kleber’s Return to Action

Kleber’s Injury and Recovery

Maxi Kleber’s return from a separated AC joint in his right shoulder was a significant boost for the Mavericks. Sidelined for 24 days since the Game 6 clincher in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, his comeback was eagerly anticipated.

His Impact on the Game Against the Timberwolves

Kleber wasted no time making his presence felt. In his first stint back, he took a charge from Karl-Anthony Towns and forced a shot-clock violation against Rudy Gobert. His defensive prowess and physicality were crucial in maintaining the team’s momentum.

Dereck Lively II’s Absence and Its Impact

Lively’s Neck Sprain and Recovery Progress

While Kleber returned, Dereck Lively II remained out with a neck sprain. His absence was keenly felt, particularly in terms of size and defensive capabilities at the rim. 

How His Absence Affected the Team

Minnesota coach Chris Finch noted that Lively’s absence changed the dynamics for both teams. Without Lively, the Mavericks had to adjust their strategy, opting for a stretch lineup with Kleber at the five. This shift introduced new challenges and opportunities for the team.

Charles Barkley’s Finals Prediction

Barkley’s Comments on the Mavericks’ Potential

Charles Barkley, never one to shy away from bold predictions, has already jumped ahead to the NBA Finals. He envisions a series between the Mavericks and the Celtics, emphasizing the impact of former Maverick Kristaps Porzingis’s return to the Celtics lineup.

The Role of Kristaps Porzingis in the Finals

Barkley believes Porzingis’s health is crucial for the Celtics to challenge the Mavericks. He highlights Kleber’s importance as one of the Mavericks’ best shooters and defenders, suggesting that his return could be a game-changer.

The Road Ahead for the Mavericks

The Importance of Finishing the Current Series

Before they can think about the Finals, the Mavericks need to close out their current series. This requires focus, resilience, and a continuation of the team’s collaborative spirit.

Preparing for Potential Finals Against the Celtics

Assuming they advance, the Mavericks will face the daunting task of preparing for a Finals showdown. The Celtics, with their own strengths and star players, will present a formidable challenge. The Mavericks must leverage their blend of youthful talent and veteran experience to succeed.


The journey from 2011 champions to 2023 contenders has been long and arduous for the Dallas Mavericks. Yet, the spirit of the 2011 team continues to inspire and support the current roster. As they strive to return to the NBA Finals, the blend of past wisdom and present potential could propel them to new heights.

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