Dirk Nowitzki is Still a Menace in Post Up Situations

Feb 26, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) dribbles as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) dribbles as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Even in his 18th NBA season, Dirk Nowitzki remains a nightmare for defenders on the block.

Coming in to what would be the 18th NBA season played by Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks were hoping enough had been added to the roster to alleviate the pressure on their 37-year old power forward to be the primary scoring option night in and night out.

Wesley Matthews had been signed to a hefty deal and while recovering from a serious injury, was on pace to return to action early in the season. Deron Williams had come over from Brooklyn, and though the veteran point guard was coming off of a few rough years with the Nets still had enough in the tank to be a contributor if he could stay on the floor rather than in a suit. And Chandler Parsons, while not an addition to the roster, was viewed as a franchise cornerstone ready to take the reins as the go-to guy for Rick Carlisle once he returned after offseason knee surgery.

Most of that has actually panned out.

Matthews – though struggling with his touch for a lot of the season – did return far ahead of schedule and has scored at least 15 points 22 times. Deron Williams has indeed stayed mostly healthy, and has chipped in a shade over 14 points a game this season. And though it took a little longer than the team had hoped, Parsons has played pretty darn well in 2016.

And yet, Nowitzki remains the team’s leading scorer (17.7 ppg) and the focal point of the offense. His overall efficiency from the field has taken a bit of a dip – his 44.8 FG% is the lowest since his rookie season – as shots from 16-feet to the three-point line are falling a little less often than they have in the past. But Dirk is still knocking down his 4.3 three-point attempts per game at an efficient 39% clip.

And Nowitzki is even more efficient in post-up situations. Brett Oswalt over at numberFire has been poring over the data, and has identified Dirk in the post as one of the seven most deadly plays in the NBA this season. From Oswalt:

"Nothing you don’t already know here. For years, Dirk Nowitzki has been a 7-foot assassin in the post, with his patented wrong-legged fadeaways. Why would anything change now?At age 37, Nowitzki is still in the 90th percentile in terms of post-up efficiency. That would suggest that he’s not the absolute best in these situations but when you consider that he has had 273 possessions of this sort, making up 29.5% of his possessions, face it — he’s the best.In his massive amount of time spent down at the block, Dirk has converted at a 1.04 point per possession clip, scoring 51.3% of the time and turning the ball over a piddling 6.2% of the time."

Pretty impressive, but somehow still not very surprising.

Check out the rest of the list here.

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