It's amazing what age and experience can do for you in sports. While most link age with decline, it can also be a chance to take advantage of being wiser the next time around. That's exactly what we have with 2011 version of the Dallas Mavericks.
The last time the Mavs were in the Finals, Dirk Nowitzki was 27, Jason Terry was 28, and one of their most explosive players, Josh Howard was 25. It was a young team on it's way up to the NBA elite. But after the Miami collapse in '06, Dirk's toughness was questioned, players were traded, and the Mavs were the easiest bet to flame out in early April.
Fast forward to Friday at American Airlines Arena here in Miami. Instead of 20-somethings being wowed by the moment, a group of confident 30-year olds walked onto the court.
You have Jason Kidd, who has been to a pair NBA Finals with the New Jersey Nets and lost. There's Shawn Marion, who has been to the Western Conference finals before with Phoenix, but never tasted championship sweetness. And Peja Stojakovic was with the Kings during their dominant years, but never could quite get over the hump.
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There hundreds of NBA seasons on this team without a ring. Sure, they've all missed on opportunities. But when things get tough, and it's time to recall on past experience, I'll take the calm old guys any day of the week.