It all depends on goals and that’s the underlying topic here that I didn’t at all touch on: Should it be title-or-bust? The journey matters. All the good times along the way are the memories we remember as fans. But ultimately I think the short-term and long-term goal needs to be a winning at the highest of levels, and that means competing for a championship.
Great point about the Mavs, though I’d argue having one of the greatest big men of all-time helped strengthen the case to make a push (and the West didn’t have a super team in it).