“As long as my body feels fine like it has so far, with no setbacks like last year when I missed two months, I’m looking forward to hopefully fulfilling my contract.”
Ready for some good news?
Nay, ready for some great news?
If the NBA season ended today, Dirk Nowitzki would return to play his 21st year with the Dallas Mavericks. As he told reporters, per the Dallas Morning News‘ Eddie Sefko:
“I’m not going to say 100 percent I’ll be back — but it’s looking like it,” Nowitzki said on Thursday. “I feel fine so far. I’ve played every game. I’d love to play all 82. That would be amazing at [age] 39. We’ll see how the body feels. But so far, it’s been fine.” . . .
“I signed up for, obviously, two years to help the franchise push through that and get better. I didn’t think we would be sitting here 10 [games] over .500. I mean, I wasn’t delusional. We felt like we might have a shot at sneaking into the playoffs. And we still do. We’ve played the toughest schedule in basketball to this point.
Sign me up for this. Hell, while we’re at it, sign me up for Years 22 and 23 and 24 and, well, you get the point.
Nowitzki, 39, isn’t going to play forever. He’ll turn 40 over the summer, which is still considered a rather taboo age in NBA circles. But the dude continues to ball. Though he’s a defensive sieve even when he’s playing center, he’s never been a lockdown stopper. The Mavericks have always valued him for his sweet shooting and mixed bag of offense tricks, and he continues to live up to that billing.
Granted, Nowitzki doesn’t bust out the one-on-one magic wand as much anymore. But that’s part of his charm. He works on a rebuilding Mavericks squad because he’s content to fire off the catch rather than chuck fadeaways. A career-high 38.3 percent of his looks are coming from three-point range this year, and of those attempts, close to 100 percent have come off assists, according to Basketball-Reference. And more than 76 percent of all his made buckets come off helping hands, the second-highest share of his career, trailing only last season.
So, Mavericks fans, go ahead and bask in Nowitzki’s twilight for however long it lasts, and do it completely guilt-free. Nowitzki is in now way clogging up your future pipeline. He’s just here to mentor the kids and get buckets within the flow of the offense…through at least 2018-19.