Dirk Nowitzki Looking Like His Old Self in the New Year


Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting woes in December were well documented. Many wondered if he was finally showing his age as he clanked jumper after jumper we’ve grown accustomed to him knocking down. After all, Nowitzki is 36-years old and in his 17th NBA season. At some point his legs are going to betray him, right?

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Probably, but Nowitzki has bounced back in January, putting the talk of his demise on hold.

Maybe it was as simple as a New Year’s resolution to start making shots. Maybe it was even simpler, just a bad shooting month. Whatever the reason for Nowitzki’s 43% accuracy from the field and abysmal 28% shooting from three-point land in December, it no longer appears to be an issue.

Dirk has been back to his normal self this month, particularly as of late. Here are some stats from his last five games:

  • 53% shooting from the field overall, 20.2 points per game
  • 52% shooting from three-point range, hitting over two a game
  • Offensive rating of 126, well above his season average

He’s looking like himself in the fourth quarter, too. He scored the final eight Dallas points in a highly contested game in Memphis, and scored eight in the fourth quarter against the Bulls as he attempted to lead the the Mavericks to a come-from-behind win. He was a combined 17-28 from the field in those two games, games in which he was checked primarily by the last two Defensive Player of the Year award winners.

Nowitzki’s recent stellar play may end up getting him an invite to the all-star festivities in New York. The 30-14 Mavericks need a representative, and though Tyson Chandler and Monta Ellis are both very deserving Nowitzki might have the best shot at being chosen.

An argument could be made that Tyson Chandler is one of the most valuable players in the league this year. The Mavericks certainly wouldn’t be where they are today if not for the man in the middle. But I wouldn’t bet on the coaches selecting him.

Jan 23, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) defends against Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first half at the American Airlines Center. The Bulls defeated the Mavericks 102-98. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Monta Ellis has been excellent for the Mavericks this year, but his recent struggles will be fresh on the minds of western conference coaches. He’s shooting just 41% from the field in his last ten outings. And the multitude of deserving guards in the western conference hurts his chances.

Nowitzki has the name recognition, and his recent play has surely captured the attention of the coaches. The injury to LaMarcus Aldridge may help his chances, too. If the Mavericks get an all-star invite, and they should, it will probably be Dirk.

He’ll have his hot-shooting January to thank for it.

Next: Game Grades for Loss to Bulls