Noted Mavs critic Charles Barkley is almost ready to jump on the bandwagon.
A team that was like a “pretty girl with no brain” has earned Barkley’s respect after a trade that transformed the Mavs’ personality.
“The one thing they were missing was defense and toughness and rebounding,” Barkley said during a Monday appearance on ESPN 103.3’s Galloway and Company, making a good point despite the sloppy math. “And they got all three of them with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. They’re bigger and they’re tougher. Also DeShawn Stevenson. I like his game. He’s a little crazy. I think every team should have a crazy guy who’s like a wild card.
“They could score with anybody. The key was defense and rebounding. They got all that with those three guys and they didn’t give up anybody.”
Barkley has always been a huge fan of Jason Kidd, whom he calls the best leader the NBA has seen since Magic Johnson. But he didn’t believe the Mavs had a chance to beat the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets until after the seven-player blockbuster deal went down over the All-Star break.
According to Barkley, the Mavs now have three players (Butler, Stevenson, Shawn Marion) who have a chance to slow down Kobe Bryant or Carmelo Anthony. If Haywood and/or Dampier are healthy, the Mavs have a solid last line of defense.
Suddenly, a squad Barkley had considered “a little girly team” looks like legitimate contenders.