Dirk Nowitzki will not win the MVP Award this season. That award will most likely go to LeBron James or Kevin Durant (Durant seems to be the front-runner at this point in the season), and that is just fine. They are the two best players in the world, and their teams are near the top of their respective conference’s standings. But the problem with the NBA has always been that it is a superstar-driven league—one that allows special talents to sometimes slip through the cracks. Case in point: Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki has established himself as the greatest European basketball player in NBA history, so it was almost sad to watch him play last season. His game appeared to be declining, and he put up pedestrian numbers (to his standards) on a mediocre Dallas Mavericks squad. His scoring output last year was at its lowest level since his second year in the league, and his shooting percentage had taken a tumble for two straight years. It appeared that Dirk was finally on his last legs.
But then came this year. This season, Nowitzki has rebounded tremendously, and as a result so have the Mavericks. Nowitzki’s shooting has clearly returned to form, as he has posted a 50 percent field goal percentage so far, including nearly a 40 percent mark from long range. Dirk has also been incredibly efficient, posting a 23.7 PER. Not bad for a player on the wrong side of 30.
Nowitzki, unfortunately, has become lost in the never-ending LeBron/Durant media hype. Unlike James or Durant, Dirk does not have a superstar teammate to fall back on, meaning that he has to shoulder most of the load himself. By carrying the Mavs to the playoffs, Nowitzki threw his hat into the MVP ring, but it’s sad that no one is paying attention.