The Big Mac Blog

The Mavs share this is common with the Knicks and 76ers

New Dallas Mavericks forward David Lee celebrates winning the NBA title last season with the Golden State Warriors last summer. Lee was signed by the Mavs this week after he was cut by the Boston Celtics.
New Dallas Mavericks forward David Lee celebrates winning the NBA title last season with the Golden State Warriors last summer. Lee was signed by the Mavs this week after he was cut by the Boston Celtics. AP

David Lee is the latest free agent to come to the Dallas Mavericks and even the best mathematician would lose track of the number of guys this team has signed since the 2011 NBA lockout ended.

The addition of David Lee to the Mavericks increases the number of Mavs since the 2011-’12 season to 62.

Sixty two.

“We didn’t get him to sit him,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle told us in the evil media on Tuesday after practice.

They never do.

According to the good people at the Elias Sports Bureau, only two NBA teams have used more than 62 players in this stretch:

1.) Philadelphia 76ers, 73

2.) Cleveland Cavaliers, 65

3.) Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks 62

The records of those teams since then:

Mavs: 206-163

Knicks: 168-202

Cavs: 171-196

76ers: 114-254

Until LeBron James returned to the Cavs last season as a free agent, the Cavs were one of the worst teams in the NBA. Just like the 76ers and the Knicks are now.

When the NBA lockout ended in 2011, teams could hand out shorter-term contracts which lends itself to a more nomadic reality for the players and rosters.

How the Mavs have played this many guys and avoided being as bad as the the 76ers, Knicks and a LeBron-less Cavs is a testament to Dirk Nowitzki and Carlisle.

Since 2011, the Mavs have surrounded Dirk Nowitzki with ...

Roddy Beaubois, Brian Cardinal, Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, Jason Terry, Delonte West, Brendan Wright, Elton Brand, Jae Crowder, Darren Collison, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Derek Fisher, Bernard James, Mike James, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Troy Murphy, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Monte Ellis, DeJuan Blair, Gel Mekel, Wayne Ellington, JJ Barea, Raymond Felton, Richard Jefferson, Jameer Nelson, Rajon Rondo, Amare Stoudemire, Javale McGee, Deron Williams and a collection of other players not named DeAndre Jordan.

When veteran Sports Illlustrated NBA writer Jack McCallum recently came up with his Top 50 NBA Players of all time, he ranked Dirk 37th.

I’m a Dirk homer, but he should be higher than 37th. Carlisle, never one to short a player, believes one of the reasons Dirk was ranked lower is because he was never surrounded with top tier talent. The only Hall of Fame player Dirk called a teammate is Jason Kidd.

That’s on the owner, who is this team’s GM.

While that is a Dirk legacy issue there is the present-day problem this turnover creates for the team itself. The Mavs are 30-27, good for sixth place in the NBA’s Western Conference.

The revolving door of players prevents any sense of continuity for the core guys this team actually wants here long term - not guys like O.J. Mayo. It takes time for players to learn tendencies, where he likes the ball and the basic habits of their teammates. It doesn’t just happen.

“You have the understanding of it and it’s part of the business,” Mavs forward Chandler Parsons told me. “(Owner) Mark Cuban and (GM) Donnie Nelson are constantly looking. It’s a positive and a negative.”

The Mavs make the best of it until they find the guys they really like, which they have not found. With the exception of Dirk, everybody is expendable.

They are firmly in the middle of the NBA and rather than celebrate any major accomplishment, given their constant rate of turnover, it’s more impressive they are neither the Knicks or the 76ers.

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