I was honored to join Rahat Huq (of Red 94) and Tim Varner (of 48 Minutes of Hell) for what we’re hoping will be a bit of a recurring feature: a three-man panel dealing with pertinent, Texas-centric NBA questions. Like it or not, the competitive dynamic between fans of the three Texas teams is very real. The rivalry between the Mavs and Spurs is undeniable, and though the Rockets haven’t butted heads with the Mavs in any kind of formal fashion since 2005, geography alone makes competitive run-ins — among fans and among the two teams — a frequent occurrence.
To have a little fun on that theme, Huq, Varner and myself voiced our picks for the best Texas ballplayer of the last 20 years, the most significant event in Texas basketball over that same timeframe, and the Texas team with the brightest future. Even with the Mavs’ core seemingly on their last legs, the answers to that final question may surprise you:
1. Tim Varner: Dallas. Mark Cuban has the means and the vision to field a competitive team on an annual basis. Cuban is an innovator whose dedication to winning finally brought home a trophy last season. I see that continuing, even after Dirk Nowitzki retires.
2. Rob Mahoney: None of the Texas teams are particularly primed for the long haul, but I’ll go with Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki could contribute in the NBA until he’s 50 if that’s his aim, and the Mavericks have the infrastructure to reboot with relative ease. Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Rick Carlisle give Dallas the means and savvy to transition quickly, and it doesn’t hurt that the Mavs also have a few young pieces (Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones, Corey Brewer) to fiddle around with.
3. Rahat Huq: I’ll say Dallas. You have to get really bad to get good as titles are won through the draft. Mark Cuban is the only boss from any of these teams to have made public acknowledgment on this point (stated last year at the Sloan Analytics Conference) so I trust he’ll tank when it’s time. Meanwhile, the Rockets are on a track to pick 14th every year and we’re not sure what the Spurs are planning.
Follow along to Red 94 for the full post.