The Three J's"; The New Cornerstone?
After showing such promise in 1994-1995, the Mavericks suffered a disappointing '95-'96 campaign that resulted in only 26 wins, the end of Dick Motta's second tenure with the Mavericks, and the first ownership change in team history.
Before the season, several players talked about taking the next step forward in their rebuilding - a trip to the postseason. A 4-0 start seemed to back up their words. But injuries, the lack of an inside presence, the absence of veteran leadership and internal strife all helped seal the Mavericks' fate.
After only 18 games, Jamal Mashburn's season ended when he had surgery to repair a sore left knee. Jim Jackson and Jason Kidd sometimes had trouble getting along, but neither had trouble establishing himself as a star. Kidd became the first Maverick to start in an All-Star Game, and finished the season second in the NBA in assists (9.7) and fourth in steals (2.2). Jackson led the team in scoring (19.6) and was the only Maverick to play in all 82 games.
In the absence of an inside threat, the Mavericks offense degenerated into a barrage of three-point shooting that helped the Mavericks set a single-season record for three-point goals made (735) and attempted (2,039). George McCloud re-emerged on the NBA scene with an average of 18.9 ppg in place of Mashburn, and connected on a 257 threes, the second best total in league history.
At season's end, Dick Motta was replaced by Bulls' assistant coach Jim Cleamons, and controlling interest in the club was sold by Donald Carter to a group of investors headed by Ross Perot, Jr., son of the former presidential candidate.
Won 26, lost 56 (fifth, Midwest) The Mavericks were 735-of-2039 (.360) from behind the 3-point stripe, shattering the NBA records for 3-point field goals made and attempted in a season; Dick Motta registered his 900th NBA victory on December 28 when the Mavericks beat the Grizzlies 103-101 on a Tony Dumas buzzer-beater in double-overtime; Jason Kidd became the first Mavericks player to start an All-Star Game when he was elected as a starter by the fans for the February 11 game in San Antonio's Alamodome; Overall, the Mavericks lost 212 player games due to injury and/or illness; Leading scorer Jamal Mashburn missed the final 64 games of the season with a knee injury; On December 6, the NBA announced that Roy Tarpley had violated the terms of his after care agreement and was disqualified from the league.
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