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Cuban thinks Nowitzki can be elite three more years. Dirk not so sure.

Mar 19, 2013, 4:24 PM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Scott AP

It took a while after he recovered from knee surgery during training camp, but Dirk Nowizki is back to being his old self. In his last five games he’s averaged 19.6 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting and 52.6 percent from three. He’s pulling down 9.2 boards a game, too. Basically, All-Star numbers.

So how long can the 34-year-old keep going at this level?

Owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com he thinks a few more years (via SLAM).

“What we’re seeing now with Dirk is what we can expect to see next year and the year after, if he stays healthy,” Cuban said. “And the year after that.”

Three more seasons after this one. Up through age 37. At this level.

What does Dirk himself think of that?

“I’m not sure about all that,” said Nowitzki, a 15-year veteran who is averaging the fewest points (16.4) since his rookie year after missing the first 27 games of the season following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. “We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I can finish this season strong and have a good summer like I basically did last year with a lot of lifting and running and hopefully not have a setback with a surgery. We’ll see how consistent I can be again next season.”

Dirk may take half a step back, but for a few years he can be a part of a contending team, if the Mavericks can get the star free agent to go next to him. Problem is that is not likely this summer — don’ bet on Chris Paul or Dwight Howard moving teams, and after that the market takes a drop. On the other hand 2014 could be a deeper free agent group.

Which means it’s in Cuban’s interest to say his current star has a lot left in the tank.

  1. 808raiderinparadise - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Dirk is no longer an elite player, elite numbers/stats and elite players are very different.

    • dirtydavis - Mar 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

      Explain

      • nbascreed - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:42 AM

        His team is not winning. They’re not really in the hunt and his play has not been that stellar. 16ppg in the NBA does not make you elite.

        Is he elite in name? For sure.

        Does he have a chance to come back next year and rejoin the corps? No doubt.

        But is he an ELITE player this year? No.

        ktgotgame.com

    • therealroman - Mar 21, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      when the game is on the line, name 5 guys you would not wanna see having the ball in their hands. CP3, Lebron, KD, Kobe, maybe Tony Parker. But Dirk should also be on that list and to me, that makes him elite. He’s gonna be a lot better next year I’m sure, he was always about preperation and training and this season has just been tough for him. Obviously he’s not the same player he was 6 or 7 years ago but he’s still great and when he puts up that shot there’s still nothing you can do but pray

  2. eventhorizon04 - Mar 19, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    He should be able to stay highly productive on offense for awhile.
    His game is mostly jump-shots, and he’s an elite mid-range and 3-point shooter.

    Defense, though, is where he’ll become more of a liability in a few years, especially as the NBA moves to using undersized power forwards who are quicker.

    So he can be elite in a few years, if you don’t count defense.

  3. davidly - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    Of course a guy with a paunch who can throw his money around to fulfil his little fantasies would likewise make vicarious predictions, choosing not to see the immense toll pro-sporting takes on the yet-to-be middle-aged body.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. Until there is, that is.

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