There were a lot of questions entering this season about the Mavericks roster but one constant we have been able to count on for the better part of the last 2 decades is the big German lighting it up That has been the case early on in the season as Dirk Nowitzki is turning back the clock and filling up the score sheet.
Dirk is averaging 18.9 & 7.5 rebounds and is shooting 51.6% from 3-point land, 91.9% from the free throw line and 55.3% overall. Not only that but Dirk is doing all of this in just 27.6 minutes per game and his PER(player efficiency rating) is 27.06 which is ranked 8th in the NBA ahead of notable star players such as Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge & James Harden. This has been one of the hottest starts I’ve watched Dirk get off to in recent memory and it’s been a pleasant surprise for all MFFLs to watch.
Wednesday’s night game against the Clippers was perhaps Dirk’s best game of the early season and was just beautiful to watch. Dirk became the oldest player to score 31 points, grab 11 rebounds and make 5 three-pointers in a game, not a bad outing for the 37 year old. Anyone watching that game against the Clippers could tell Nowitzki had a little extra saved up for DeAndre Jordan and was just lightning up the AAC.
Another stat I noticed Bobby Karalla (Mavs.com writer) tweet out was that Dirk is scoring 1.269 points per possession and that leads all NBA players and Steph Curry is the only other player averaging at least 1.2 points per possession. That’s insane! We all know how much of a hot streak Curry has respectively been on himself this season so that’s mighty impressive of the big German to be right up there with the reining MVP.
I’m not surprised that Dirk is still capable of putting up such efficient stats because after he is still Dirk but I’ve also noticed him become more aggressive defensively and attacking the boards. Currently Dirk is averaging 7.5 rebounds which to many may not be eye-popping numbers but for him it is, the last time he averaged at least 7 rebounds a game was in 2010-2011 and the last time he averaged at least 7.5 rebounds a game was in 2005-2006 when he averaged 7.6 rebounds!
Keep in mind that he’s averaging this while playing the least amount of minutes per game he’s ever had throughout his career. What that tells me is that he’s exerting more effort going after rebounds and being more physical, all part of Rick Carlisle’s philosophy that everyone needs to grab 1 more board a game this year. Dirk still isn’t an elite defender by any means but I have seen him be more physical when other big men post him up and has been more effective than what we all saw last season.
Dirk is still the best player on this Mavericks team and the one who creates the most matchup problems for opposing defenses. While we’ve all wanted someone to step up and take over that torch from him the truth is that player isn’t on the Mavs current roster. I will say however is that Dirk has more balance around him and other players that can carry the load at different spurts, Wesley Matthews, Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons are all capable of that. But at the end of the day you want the ball in Dirk’s hands at the end of the game.
Not bad for a guy who is 37 years old and is now in his 18th season.