With Thanksgiving behind us and the Mavericks sitting at 9-7 on a three-game losing streak waiting for a Saturday matchup against the Nuggets, I thought I’d take a look at some of the best Dallas products to ever play in the NBA. For these purposes, I wanted to sort through all past or current players who attended a Dallas-area high school and determine which of them would have made the franchise’s all-time best starting five. The results I put together are fascinating if nothing else.
Center | Chris Bosh
Maybe it’s just me, but I associate Bosh more as a power forward than a center. Unless Basketball Reference is a huge liar, though, Boshasaurus has logged more than his fair share of minutes in the center position. I wouldn’t know, because I just started watching basketball this year for the first time in almost two decades. You may have missed that fact, but it’s basically the whole reason I started this blog, so pay attention. Anyway, Bosh is a local product all the way — not only did he go to high school in Dallas, he was also born there. He may not have set foot outside of his hometown aside from his basketball career! The fact that the fourth overall pick of the 2003 draft spent all that time in Dallas makes him a no-brainer for this spot, but it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s been one of the game’s best offensive big men for going on a decade now.
Power Forward | Dennis Rodman
As a former Chicago Bulls fan, it thrills me to add Dennis the Menace to the All-Dallas starting lineup. Probably the very best rebounder in the history of the NBA, Rodman actually finished his professional career with the Mavericks way back in the 1999-00 season, but it wasn’t exactly a fairy tale ending. Although The Worm was still a prolific glass cleaner who pulled down over 14 boards per game in his 12 Mavericks appearances, he earned his release barely a month after being signed. Rodman, who actually lived in Mark Cuban’s guest house for part of his time with the team, was extremely offended when he learned of the news. For his part, Cuban claimed the decision was not personal, but stemmed from wanting to give more time to younger players with the team falling out of playoff contention. The Mavericks would go on to win just 40 games that season, and they haven’t lost that few ever since.
Small Forward | Larry Johnson
Back when I was watching basketball regularly, Larry Johnson was a beast. A 250-pound monster who played much larger than his listed height of 6-foot-6, Johnson stormed into the league and averaged a double-double his first two seasons. While his rebounding dipped and never recovered thereafter, he remained an excellent scorer throughout his time with the Hornets. His reign with the Knicks was not nearly as productive, and back problems forced him out of the game after just 10 seasons. Johnson would probably be better utilized in the four spot, but I’m letting Rodman stay there. What a crazy-ass front court duo that would be, with Rodman getting ejected every other day and Johnson trying to convert everyone to Islam.
Shooting Guard | C.J. Miles
Okay, here’s where things get dicey, but stay with me. There just aren’t any clear winners for the two position, something that Dallas needs to work on as a city in the coming years. C.J. Miles deserves some credit for getting this spot, however, because he’s actually having a career year in Indianapolis. An 11-year journeyman on his third team, most people probably wouldn’t see Miles as someone who belongs in a starting lineup at all, let alone one that represents a franchise’s entire history. Like Bosh, Miles was born in Dallas and attended school in Dallas, but that’s where the similarities end. Miles was selected with the 34th overall pick in the 2005 draft, and while he’s flown somewhat under the radar in the subsequent years, the Pacers are very glad to have him this season, and he’s turned into a legitimate offensive weapon for a surprisingly good team.
Point Guard | Emmanuel Mudiay
Now this is just getting out of hand. After all, Mudiay is just 19 years old and in the beginning of his rookie season. Who’s to say he’s deserving of this honor? Well, it was either him, Spud Webb, or Micheal Williams, and while the latter two were decent point guards in their time, I’m a sucker for upside, and I think Mudiay is going to have an excellent career piloting offenses. A big point guard at 6-foot-5, Mudiay rounds out a very strangely sized roster that has a massive back court and a front court that isn’t much taller. With Mudiay’s still developing offense and Rodman’s non-existent offense, this team would need to lean heavily on Miles’s recent three-point prowess as well as Bosh and Johnson. Thankfully, Mudiay is a skilled enough point guard to get the offense humming along, especially when he hits his peak in a few years. I think the All-Dallas lineup could hold their own against any city’s lineup, dammit.