Dirk Nowitzki is alone.
He doesn't have another all-star to help him.
He doesn't have Dwyane Wade. Or Chris Bosh. He doesn't even have Joe Johnson.
He just has his own broad shoulders.
Two years ago, he didn't need anyone else. With a mediocre supporting cast, Dirk lifted the Mavericks to their first NBA title, by defeating the seemingly unbeatable Miami Heat and their triumvirate of stars — LeBron James, Wade and Bosh.
In today's NBA, where every all-star or former all-star (ahem, Ray Allen) takes less money for a chance at a title, Nowitzki needs all the help he can get. But for some reason Mark Cuban has not been able to steer another star toward Dallas.
Point guard Deron Williams was the initial target. But, instead he chose to take his talents to Brooklyn.
Once the Nets pulled off the trade for Joe Johnson, signed Gerald Wallace, showed they were going to re-up with Brook Lopez and could still make a run at Dwight Howard, the choice was easy for Williams.
Dallas, his hometown, was out.
He was a Brooklyn Net and the Mavericks are now forced to choose between Ramon Sessions and Raymond Felton to play point guard next season.
Jason Kidd? He left to be a backup to Jeremy Lin on the New York Knicks.
Steve Nash? He took his talents and paired up with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in Los Angeles.
So what was Dirk left with? What are the Mavericks left with?
Just the stars of yesteryear.
The Mavs roster would look great if this was 2002. Shawn Marion was on the cusp of stardom and Vince Carter and Dirk were already there.
But that was 10 years ago.
Today, Dirk doesn't even have Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea to help him win a title.
Just an also-ran or two and a few never-will-bes.
The stark reality for Dallas is they just are not good enough to compete at an elite level right now.
They can't beat the Heat.
They can't beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Heck, they might not be able to even beat the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Unless something major happens — like trading for Howard — it looks like the best piece the Mavericks may add this offseason is Elton Brand.
That simply is not going
to get it done.
Maybe Cuban is beginning to think draft picks.
Because in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, Dallas is looking pretty average as the pecking order is beginning to be set:
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Los Angeles Clippers
5. Memphis Grizzlies
6. Minnesota Timberwolves
7. Portland Trailblazers
8. Dallas Mavericks
Of course, a few things like Portland actually stealing Roy Hibbert away from the Indiana Pacers and Ricky Rubio coming back strong for the Timberwolves needs to happen to put both of those teams ahead of Dallas at the moment.
But if those things actually happen, the Mavericks are in trouble.
Because, the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets won't be far behind, and for the first time since 2001 the Mavericks could miss the playoffs — and there is nothing Dirk can do about it.
Not alone. Not without another star or some significant help.
No one can do it alone. Not anymore.
Not even Dirk.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569