Even though the Dallas Mavericks own the worst record in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki is handling the situation as classy as you would expect.
Dirk Nowitzki was drafted with the 9th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft.
In his first two years in the league, Dallas won a combined 59 games with 40 of them being in his second season in the league. But in 2000, Nowitzki led the Mavericks to a 53 win season in what would become the norm for Dallas over the next decade.
The Mavericks would make the playoffs for the next 12 years straight. They would win over 50 games in 11 of the 12 years with three of those seasons being over 60 wins. The one playoff season during that stretch that Dallas didn’t hit 50 wins was the lockout season where the team won 36 of their 66 games.
Dallas would miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years in the 2012-13 season, but returned to the playoffs for the next three years after that.
Doing the math, since Dirk Nowitzki came into the league in 1998, the Dallas Mavericks have made the playoffs in 15 of his 19 seasons in the league.
Now, with the Mavericks off to a 1-10 start, it looks like this could be the fifth time in Nowitzki’s career that he won’t make the playoffs.
"“Losing is never fun,” Nowitzki said after the loss to New Orleans on Friday night. “Especially to an organization and franchise that is used to winning a lot over ten years of winning 50 games. So this has been tough.”"
Dallas lost both back-to-back games over the weekend to New Orleans at home and Minnesota on the road. With the next three games against Washington, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, Dirk knows it will be tough, but they must not give up.
“It is way too early to kind of give up. We have to keep grinding. I know the schedule is extremely tough here in November. We have to keep grinding and try to find schemes that work. Trying to find lineups that work best. When you are losing you have to keep searching and keep trying. Try to get some wins and figure some things out,” Nowitzki said after the New Orleans loss.
With this being somewhat of uncharted territory for Nowitzki, especially in what some think could be his last year in the league, you might think this could be depressing to Nowitzki or change his mentality in one of his last years.
When Rick Carlisle was asked after the game how Nowitzki was handling the tough start to the season, he said Dirk has been Dirk.
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“[Dirk has handled it]Very professionally. He continues to encourage the young guys. He is positive and upbeat. Trying to help find ways to make things better. Dirk is being Dirk,” Carlisle said after the New Orleans loss.
Carlisle would go on to point something else out that some have forgotten about to start the season: the fact that Nowitzki hasn’t missed a game yet.
“So far he hasn’t missed a game in his 20th year and that is saying something right there. He is going to keep going,” Carlisle said.
Last year, Nowitzki appeared in just 54 games after dealing with an injury that sidelined him for 24 of the first 29 games of the season. Now, 10 games in to the season at 39 years old, Nowitzki hasn’t missed a game due to injury or rest, despite having multiple back-to-back games.
The storybook of Dirk Nowitzki continues to be written in Dallas and despite the rough start to the season, he is still being the classic Dirk we all know and love.