Since the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, much of the press has revolved around what the Heat and LeBron James did to lose. But if we want to know why the Mavs won, we need only look at one move made on June 24, 1998.
On that date, the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Dirk Nowitzki with the ninth pick of the draft and then shipped him and the 19th pick (Pat Garrity) to the Mavs for the sixth pick, Robert Traylor. At the time, there was some concern as to whether Nowitzki was even coming to the NBA.
The day after the draft for CNNSI.com, Dan Shanoff called the Bucks one of the draft’s winners, noting that “the Bucks get it right…by stealing the marketable and talented Robert Traylor from the Mavs for an overhyped foreign prospect.”
Thirteen years later, the trade looks like anything but a “win” for the Bucks. And it also proved to be the biggest move on the road to this year’s NBA Championship.
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