Dirk Nowitzki Set to Make Preseason Debut Against the Atlanta Hawks

The Dallas Mavericks will again be without some key guys in their fourth preseason game of the year, but for the first time Mavs fans will be treated to some semblance of the team with the face of the franchise, Dirk Nowitzki, suiting up for his first game.

Nowitzki, 37, has been, and will continue to be fully entrenched in a year-long maintenance program to keep him fresh, so don’t expect big minutes from him. But his presence alone takes the contest from yet another glorified scrimmage to something more.

Another player to watch is big man Salah Mejri. He made his debut with the Mavericks in their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this week, registering 4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in 12 minutes of action.

Everyone has talked a lot about his play in the pick-and-roll offensively and his fit there with the Mavericks, but against OKC we saw him use his length and mobility to corral Thunder ball handlers and keep them out of the painted area as they tried to work the same action.

Mejri also showed off his court vision with some terrific passes, even if they didn’t always end up as an assist. He only figures to improve in that area hanging around a guy like Zaza Pachulia. Here are his highlights:

Here’s hoping he gets a little more than 12 minutes tonight, because his game looks like it could mesh well with Nowitzki and it would be great to see the two out there together with roster cuts on the horizon.

The game tips off at 8:30 pm ET at the American Airlines Center. Go Mavs!