Charles Barkley has proven to be an outspoken critic of the Mavericks for as long as he has been in the TNT studio.
During any one of Dallas’ runs throughout the past 10 years or so, Barkley could be heard dismissing the team, sometimes derisively and always through jocular television antics.
After the Mavericks Game Five loss in Denver though, Barkley gave Dallas some sage, though unsolicited advice.
“(Dallas) has got problems, they've got a great player in Dirk Nowitzki, they've got to make a decision on Josh Howard and Jason Terry is a great guy to bring off your bench. The big question is Jason Kidd. They've got issues, they've got to get much younger, they've got to get some help for Dirk, they need to find some guys who can be physical around him.”
Barkley may be dead on here, and that is vaguely off-putting.
The former Sixer, Sun and Rocket went on to cite Houston and Yao Ming, saying, “The Rockets brought some pit bulls for Yao Ming because he's a finesse player. Dirk is a great player, but he's a finesse player.”
To be sure, Dallas could afford to get younger and, at least, a little tougher. The Mavericks have lacked the physicality that seems to dominate series in the postseason for years, with the possible exception of 2006; even then, no one was “scared” of Dallas to any degree.
After a series with the uber-physical Denver Nuggets, this may just top owner Mark Cuban’s off season wish list.
Dirk Nowitzki proved yet again, even at age 30, that he is the kind of player championship teams are built around.
And there’s little reason to think that some serious change is not in order. 50-32 and a trip to the semifinals is just not good enough, now or ever, for any team run by the ultra-competitive Cuban.