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Dirk Nowitzki Playing 5-on-5 Before Training Camp for First Time in Years

Sep 21, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki AP

15 seasons. Over 45,000 minutes of regular season and playoff minutes. International play. Training camps. Practices.

That’s a lot of miles on the old odometer, but that’s not stopping Dirk Nowitzki from getting acclimated to his new teammates.

After all, there’s only so much time Nowitzki has left in his career, and after the Mavericks balked at the chance to rebuild, both Nowitzki and the Mavs are all-in on the present. That means guys are ramping up a little earlier than usual.

“He is playing 5-on-5 with the guys,” owner Mark Cuban said. “(That’s) something he hasn’t done in years. Actually, all you need to know is that he’s talking about possibly playing more internationally. I don’t think he’s doing it just to make me mad.

“You never know in this business. But he looks good.”

Via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News.

It’s good to hear Nowitzki is feeling up to the challenge of carrying the Mavericks, because he’ll have to do just that if Dallas wants any chance at the playoffs this season.

Nowitzki missed the first 26 games of the season last year after knee issues flared up in training camp and preseason, but both he and the team appear confident that no health problems will arise this season. The extra time on the court with the newly signed backcourt of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon is important, but working with Samuel Dalembert on their back-line defensive chemistry might be even more critical.

We know Nowitzki will score in a ridiculous fashion, but what we don’t know is how the Mavericks can hold up defensively this season. Calderon and Ellis are swinging doors on the perimeter, and Nowitzki, while crafty with his strips in the post, isn’t as mobile as he once was.

Can a team with so many aging veterans cobble together a defense that’s at least league average? Right next to Nowitzki’s health, that’s the biggest concern this season. But at least on Nowitzki’s front, it’s so far, so good in Big D.

  1. jbones77 - Sep 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Well they still have Shawn Marion, who’s a pretty good defender. Nobody ever mentions him.

  2. onlyavoice - Sep 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    The 2004 Pistons Team Was Made Up Of Mostly Everyone Else’s Scrubs (Was Billups 5th Team LOL),
    They Played For 1 Purpose & Bought In To The System & Won A Chip ( LA Gave Them That One)
    Point Being? Why Not These Guys.
    Actually That 2004 Piston Chip Should Have Been Carlisle.

  3. onlyavoice - Sep 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Dirk Looks Like An Idiot,
    Shave Dirk.

    • sportsfan18 - Sep 22, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      Real basketball fans know that the Mavs started poorly when Dirk missed the first 26 games last yr. All the players decided not to shave until they reached .500 as a team record.

      That was one of many photos of Dirk late in the season last yr.

      He DID shave, the night they got back to .500

    • daddyghi - Sep 22, 2013 at 3:02 AM

      dont need to look good to become a world class basketball player… hell, LeBron looks like King Kong but man, he’s the best basketball player walking the planet right now..

    • 24thesho - Sep 22, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      Why is it so important for you to see Dirk’s face? I mean, he is a man; men do grow beards and we have since the beginning of human existence on this planet. Why would you even pose that question? Are you in love with Dirk’s face? I don’t get it. It’s men’s basketball. I’m jus’ sayin. Men grow beards.

  4. absolutsaints - Sep 21, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    @onlyavoice
    that was a pic from last season genius. instead of using onlyavoice you should use onlyabrain…

  5. antistratfordian - Sep 21, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    There was a time Dirk used to lead this league in PER and Win Share. Seems like ages ago. These days his PER is in the very low 20s or (gasp) high teens.

    I’m not sure he’s going to be able to do much to turn back the clock.

  6. lucasblack12 - Sep 22, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Dirk has never gotten the respect that he deserves. If you saw him at the end of last year, when he was actually recovered from that injury and in game shape, that he was still capable of being the same guy, you say he’s getting old? Well his game isn’t reliant on speed or any type of agility. Pick and pop jump shooter. The ignorance is crazy

    • sportsfan18 - Sep 22, 2013 at 6:32 AM

      I agree that Dirk doesn’t get the respect he deserves. I’m a Bulls fan but I’m a basketball fan too…

      Dirk has a higher career PER than Kobe. Dirk is currently in 19th place ALL TIME on the list of highest PER’s in the NBA.

      Assuming he’ll decline some as he ages and depending on how many more yrs he plays, let’s say he drops to like 25th all time in PER.

      He’s currently 21st all time on the NBA scoring list. With just a decent season, he’ll move up to around 15th place this season. With another decent season the yr after this coming season, he’ll be around 8th place or so.

      He has a great chance 3 seasons from now of becoming just the 7th man ever to score 30,000 points in the history of the NBA.

      So you’re looking at what will be a top 10 all time scorer and it’s more likely he’ll end up around 6th place or so when he retires as well as a player who will end up around 25th all time in PER.

      RIGHT now, Dirk has more win shares than Kobe even though Dirk has only played 39,975 minutes to Kobe’s 45,390 min’s in their careers.

      I’m NOT putting Kobe down, it’s just that folks don’t realize just how good Dirk is and again, I’m a Bulls fan.

      Dirk has a great true shooting percentage too as he shoots the 3 pt shot well, over 38% for his career (above the great Larry Bird’s career 3 pt percentage) as well as having a higher career true shooting percentage than Bird too.

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