The Dallas Mavericks are on the precipice of making the 2024 NBA Finals, as they only need to win one more game in their Western Conference Finals tussle against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have been on a tear as of late, and they're flanked by hard-nosed defenders who aren't afraid of the moment; moreover, head coach Jason Kidd has been outmaneuvering the opposition all throughout the postseason, and at this point, they have all the makings of a championship team.

With how great this season's Mavericks have been, there are already plenty of comparisons being made to the franchise's championship-winning team in 2011. Some are already asking the question of which iteration of the team is better. But for Kidd, who was also part of the 2011 team as the starting point guard, the answer to the question is hilariously easy — but not for the reasons one might think.

“I’m gonna say the ‘11 team was better because I was on it. And Dirk’s my neighbor, so I don’t want to piss him off,” Kidd said, per Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Jason Kidd has been stellar in every level of his athletic life, but it's evident that the 2011 Mavericks team still holds a special place in his heart. Kidd was already 38 years of age when he finally broke through and won his first championship after years of heartbreak with the New Jersey Nets; Kidd's gratitude to Dirk Nowitzki, who went into a prolonged flow state during the 2011 playoffs, is ever apparent, which is maybe why he doesn't want to piss him off.

The 2024 Mavericks are no slouches either. But the job's not finished for them. All they must set their sights towards is finishing off the Timberwolves to book a trip to an NBA Finals matchup against the Boston Celtics.

2011 Mavericks, forever special

Until the 2024 Mavericks win a championship, the 2011 team stands as the greatest in franchise history in undisputed fashion. The 2011 squad was filled with veterans at every position, and veterans who have failed to win the NBA Finals at that in Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, among others. The road they went through in the postseason was also very difficult, and yet somehow, they made it look easy.

In Round 1, the 2011 Mavericks dispatched of an entertaining Portland Trail Blazers team that saw the last hurrah of Brandon Roy before injuries truly ravaged his career. And then in the following round, the Mavericks came up against the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers and promptly swept them, demolishing them in Game 4 of that series in epic fashion.

In the Western Conference Finals, Dirk Nowitzki continued to ascend; the Oklahoma City Thunder stood no chance as he uncorked one one-legged fadeaway after another. But there may not have been a more difficult challenge for them than what the 2011 Miami Heat posed. That Heat team saw the first year of the team-up between LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. It looked like the Mavs were going to go down 2-0 in the series. But an epic Game 2 comeback allowed them to steal homecourt advantage, setting the stage for them to win in six.

Nowitzki was on an all-time run in 2011, and his Mavericks finished the job in one of the most unexpected title runs in NBA history. It will take a lot for the 2024 Mavericks to approach this level of greatness, but they're inching closer, that's for sure.

Luka Doncic and the Mavs figure it out

The 2022-23 season was a lost one for the Mavericks; it hurt more when Jalen Brunson went on to become a star with the New York Knicks. They traded for Kyrie Irving in February 2023, but by then, it was too late. The Mavs missed the playoffs entirely, and they even had to tank to miss the play-in tournament just so they could keep their lottery pick.

However, that season gave the team plenty of lessons in roster-building. They prioritized defense and rebounding alongside their two backcourt stars in Irving and Luka Doncic, and it has worked wonders. It was a bet on Doncic and Irving's offensive greatness that they can lead a team filled with athletic defenders who aren't exactly the best shooters, and that bet has paid off big time.

The Mavericks simply took the blueprint of the 2022 team that made the Western Conference Finals and improved upon it. Their frontcourt, in particular, has been everything Doncic has needed and more. And now, they only need to win five more games to achieve basketball immortality.