Dirk Nowitzki Rounding into Form at the Perfect Time


Recently our own Rami Michail wrote that Dirk Nowitzki is the key to the Mavericks’ postseason success. He’s right. With Chandler Parsons‘ health in question and Monta Ellis‘ streakiness, getting the most out of their future Hall of Fame power forward will be of paramount importance for the Mavericks in their quest for a second title.

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Good thing ol’ Dirk is rounding into form right as the postseason is about to get underway. I won’t sugar coat it: Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t had a great year. He’s made a habit of missing a lot of shots we’re used to seeing go down, resulting in the third-worst shooting percentage of his illustrious career. His points per game is second-worst of his career, too. Same with his work on the glass.

But over the last month or so we’ve seen a different Dirk, and just in time, too. Since March 1st Nowitzki has made 50% of his shots from three-point range. In his last 10 games that number jumps up to over 53%. I, for one, am back to expecting the ball to drop every time he releases it from distance. Like this clutch three-pointer he hit against Phoenix this Wednesday.

Nowitzki’s restored accuracy is something the Mavericks desperately need. When he’s shooting well from outside he becomes even more of a matchup nightmare. After all, his ability to stretch the floor is what helped him redefine the power forward position and mold his unique resumé.

And at the moment Dallas doesn’t have anyone other than Dirk capable of providing that threat.

Monta Ellis failed to hit any of his three-pointers against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, going 0-3 on the night. That shouldn’t really surprise you, and not only because he’s a career 31% shooter from long range.

Ellis has been, and continues to be, in a stretch of complete incapability when it comes to hitting shots from beyond the arc. He hasn’t hit a three-pointer since March 24th when he shot 2-6 against the San Antonio Spurs, and has gone 0-15 in his five games since.

But it goes back even further. Much further. Ellis has shot just under 22% from distance since February 1st. That’s Rajon Rondo territory, folks.

Chandler Parsons, as streaky as he’s been this season, is a pretty good outside shooter and has shot over 40% since returning from an ankle injury. But due to the knee injury he suffered against the Houston Rockets Parsons won’t be 100% until the offseason and we just don’t know what type of player he’ll be in the next few weeks as he continues to recover.

Which is why, as Rami pointed out, Dirk is again the most important player on the Mavericks’ roster heading into the playoffs.

Now, the fact that Dallas will have to lean on a 36-year old to carry them against some of the league’s best teams might register as a red flag. That’s understandable. But after following the Big German for over a decade and witnessing his recent resurgence I’m happy to take my chances with him.

Next: 5 Under the Radar Free Agents the Mavericks Should Consider

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