Since he was drafted over two decades ago back in 1998, German big man Dirk Nowitzki has been the backbone of the Dallas Mavericks’ winning ways, leading them to a championship victory and two NBA Finals appearances.
That success has now given way to a full-blown rebuild in recent years and Nowitzki has watched the culture shift right in front of him. Once a perennial playoff candidate, the Mavs have opted to bring in a new core, headlined by two big summer additions this offseason in rookie Luka Doncic and free agent acquisition Deandre Jordan.
Now with his retirement on the horizon, the 40-year-old Nowitzki can envision a Dallas starting five that doesn’t feature him for the first time since 1999. According to SportsDay’s Eddie Sefko, Nowitzki is open to the idea of bringing him off the bench this upcoming season.
“Obviously, DeAndre’s going to be our starter at the five position and the rest will just kind of fall in place after that,” Nowitzki said. “If [Barnes] goes back to the four or we start other ways, I have no idea as of yet. But it’s a great problem to have. We want to be a franchise that is back in the playoffs and plays well and has fun again.”
“I’ve always said the last few years, if it makes our team better — I want to be part of a winning team and if that’s what helps us win — then of course,” Nowitzki said. “I have no problem with that. I already told [the training staff] if that’s the case, they better keep me loose. We better get a [stationary] bike ready somewhere because if I warm up and sit for 15, 20 minutes, that’s going to be an issue.”
Not only is Dirk Nowitzki one of the icons of this current NBA generation, but his numbers and accolades speak for themselves as well, cementing him as one of the best players the NBA has ever seen.
Nowitzki served as a sort of pioneer to today’s game, which is loaded with stretch bigs and perimeter shooting. As a seven-footer, Nowitzki was one of the first of his kind to boast a pure outside stroke as a frontcourt player, a trend we have seen explode in the NBA over the past decade.
Though power forward is his true natural position, Nowitzki has played much more center in recent years. With All-Star DeAndre Jordan now aboard, Nowitzki certainly won’t be the starting five and the four may also be occupied depending on how head coach Rick Carlisle decides to deploy Harrison Barnes.
Either way, in what may be his last season as a pro, it will be intriguing to see how Nowitzki is used by the Mavericks.