A Look at Dirk
By Guest Blogger Tyler Daly:
Dirk Nowitzki is a special player. The 7-foot German approaches the game like none before him have, because no one has had the physical tools and skills that he has been given. He’ll back you down and use his strength to get to the basket, he’ll face you up and blow by you for a dunk, or if you’re too concerned with stopping that he’ll just knock down a fade-away jumper in your face. Nowitzki has forever changed the game of basketball, paving the way for other foreign players of similar styles (Yi Jianlian and Andrea Bargnani). But for some reason, Dirk has been labeled “soft” and accused for costing the Mavericks in the playoffs in past years. Well that is simply not true.
Dirk’s career playoff averages:
-Field goal percentage: 45%
-Free throw percentage: 89%
Now a quick glance at those numbers should tell you everything you need to know. The accusations previously mentioned have no basis; the numbers just simply do not support them. Instead, it has often been the case for the Mavericks that key role players have not played their part during playoff runs. Too often has Jason Terry struggled to find his rhythm in the postseason, too often have the Mavs suffered under a lack of a center.
Which brings me to my next point. This year’s different. Not only is Dirk averaging 28 ppg in this year’s playoffs, but he’s also shooting a tremendous 92% from the charity stripe. But that’s not the reason the Mavericks have been successful. Yes, Dirk is instrumental in the success of the team, no arguing that; however, it is the presence of Tyson Chandler, the shooting of bench players like JJ Barea and Stojakovic that have filled in the holes. This is why I like the Mavericks chances, the team seems to realize what a title means not only to this team, but to Dirk. As Dallas has an experienced roster (8 guys over 30 years of age) their window of opportunity is slowing shutting. A title would certainly cement Dirk’s legacy among that of the all-time greats, and his teammates seem to want to put him there.
I have never seen the Mavs play with the intensity or passion they have so far in this postseason run, and it is the beautiful result of where hard work meets desire. But despite what happens in the rest of the postseason, I think Dirk has forever shed the “soft” label. He deserves that at least.