The thing that is unfortunate about the NBA is that the players that we grow to love and see reach levels of greatness only have a finite amount of time to perform at those levels. We’re seeing it right now with Kobe Bryant and his injuries, Kevin Garnett and his age, and several others.
One of the questions that has surrounded the Dallas Mavericks in recent years and this season is when the time is going to be up for their star forward, Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki has been a perennial All-Star in this league for many years now, but with the injuries that befell him last year and the fact that he’s 35 years old, it seemed like his time as a great in this league might be coming to an end.
Nowitzki has put a swift end to all of those talks, though, with his play this season. In the 36 games that he’s played this season, he’s averaged 20.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, three assists and 1.1 steals in 32.5 minutes per game while hitting 48.8 percent of his field goal attempts and 40 percent of his attempts from deep. Both of those efficiency marks are higher than his career average.
What’s been impressive is that Nowitzki has both been consistent with his success this season and hasn’t regressed as the season has worn on. If you need evidence of that, you don’t need to look any further than Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans where Dirk put up 40 points, four boards, four assists and two steals in only 33 minutes while shooting 10-20 from the field, 5-9 from three, and 15-16 from the foul line.
Dirk has come into this season in star form and has been a pleasure to watch. It’s impossible to see the Mavs’ success this season and disregard Nowitzki’s play as an enormous factor. Monta Ellis’ maturation as a player has certainly helped, but Dirk is still the alpha-dog and has continued to lead on the court. Dirk’s time will run out one day, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be happening this season.