Related Tags: The Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki made his first appearance since a season ending ankle surgery took him out of action for 9 months. Although the appearance ended in a 99-89 loss to the Suns, it marked the 21st season Dirk has played with the Mavericks, the most seasons one player has ever played for a single team in NBA history, passing Kobe Bryant (20 years with Los Angeles Lakers).
Nowitzki was limited to only six minutes of action and registered only 2 shots. This appearance, along with the next couple, will be warm ups for Dirk, who turned 40 over the Summer. Dirk himself has voiced his opinion on the speed of the league, stating that he understands that the league is “ a bunch of athletic 20 year olds”. Dirk is more successful in a tactical half court system. Dirk played in 77 games last year, and will look to continue to contribute to Dallas, but in different ways than he used to. Nowitzki will no longer take the burden of maintaining his career 21 point average. Instead, Dallas will look for his contribution off the bench, and to apply his 3-point shooting to a young lineup that has surprised many at the start of the 2018-2019 year. Luka Doncic is justifying his placement in last years’ draft, and 5 other players are averaging double digits. Given that Dirk shot the three-ball at 40% last year, it seems likely that this will be his niche in this young offense. Dallas has sprung out to a 15-13 start, finding themselves first in a Southwest division that includes the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies. No one expected this start for Dallas, who received the third pick in the lottery last year, who finished with only 24 wins. They are currently 9 games away from that number already, with confidence and momentum growing. Look for Dirk to add another dynamic to this growing team.