Monday, June 20, 2011
Who belongs in the AAC rafters?
By Tim MacMahon
Maybe Jason Terry has a post-NBA career as an interior decorator. He’s already making plans to spruce up the American Airlines Center.
“There’s some new jerseys coming to town!” Terry said during the post-parade ceremony as he pointed up toward the AAC rafters.
Of course, Jet assumes that his No. 31 will someday be hanging next to Rolando Blackman’s No. 22 and Brad Davis’ No. 15, among others. He’s certainly on the short list after a seven-season stint in Dallas that has featured two Finals appearances and one championship.
Here’s a six-pack of candidates for AAC immortality, listed in order of the likelihood of having their number retired by the Mavericks:
Dirk Nowitzki: It’s just a matter of when and where to put the statue of by far the best player in franchise history. (I’d recommend right in the middle of Victory Plaza, for what it’s worth.)
Jason Kidd: His two tenures in Dallas, separated by more than a decade, have spanned parts of seven seasons and he’ll probably last at least two more. He ranks third in franchise history in assists with 3,947 and is a good bet to break that record. He’s also third with 872 steals. And his intangibles played an immeasurable role in the franchise’s first championship. Plus, Mark Cuban, the one-man selection committee, originally bought Reunion Arena nosebleed season tickets because he wanted to watch Kidd and took the biggest risk of his ownership tenure to bring Kidd back to Dallas.
Jason Terry: Depending on the length of the lockout, Terry should become the sixth player to score 10,000 points in a Mavericks uniform next season. He’s made it clear that he hopes to retire here, so it’s feasible that he could climb to third or fourth on that list. Jet clearly believes his performance this postseason punched his ticket to the rafters. He’s probably right. After all, the way he came through in the last few games of the Finals -- after boldly questioning whether LeBron James could keep up with him -- was the stuff of legends.
Derek Harper: This one is long overdue. No offense to Davis, but Harper was unquestionably the better player. He holds the franchise records for assists (5,111) and steals (1,551) and ranks fourth in points (12,597). Harper is also a class act who remains on good terms with the Mavs, as evidenced by his broadcasting role.
Michael Finley: His post-Dallas time in San Antonio can’t be held against him. It’s not as if he asked to be released as an amnesty clause casualty. Finley was the cornerstone of the teams that turned the franchise from a league laughingstock to a perennial playoff squad. He was a true pro who helped Nowitzki make the tough transition from a midlevel European league to the NBA. And Finley was a two-time All-Star who ranks fifth in franchise history with 12,389 points.
Mark Aguirre: Don’t hold your breath for this to happen despite Aguirre’s 13,930 points for the Mavs, which ranks behind only Nowitzki and Blackman in franchise history. The way Aguirre essentially forced his way out of Dallas is held against him.