Can't imagine Magic Johnson won too many Mavs fans over with his comments when he visited Cowboys training camp this week.
As reported by my pal Tim MacMahon at the Dallas Morning News:
Magic talked a lot about how the Cowboys could recover from last season's playoff failure to become Super Bowl champions. He was discussing how precious legitimate championship chances are when he dropped in this little nugget on the Mavs.
"You saw the Dallas Mavericks had that window, and that window closed on them," Magic said. "So it can close real fast."
While it's tough to say that anyone's window has definitely closed in the tightly packed West, Magic's overall point resonates here.
Two years ago, the Mavs were a bona fide and deserving Finals team. Since the end of the 2006-07 regular season, that has definitively no longer been the case.
Coming into this season, the Lakers, Hornets and Jazz are all definitively better than the Mavs are - more firepower, more dynamic stars, and in at least two of three cases, better coaching. The Spurs and Rockets should be much better defensively, and both have the scoring power as well to match what the Mavs' can do. It could be a toss-up with the Suns for the sixth spot. While Dallas still has a lot of talent on the roster, what Jason Kidd has left in the tank remains to be seen, Josh Howard's character has become a question mark, and this cast of characters showed no impetus to get the job done last year.
The Mavs got run out in the playoffs this spring, and I'm not sure there's a reason to believe they've improved to the point of preventing that from recurring.