Dallas Mavericks: How much better does Dirk Nowitzki make the Mavericks?

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks have welcomed back the greatest player in franchise history after missing the last few games of last season and the first 26 games of this year. Although it hasn’t gone great so far, what does Dirk Nowitzki bring to the table?

The Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly, like salt and pepper, like corned beef and sauerkraut. Without Dirk, the Mavs would have never been the entertaining team that they have become over the past couple decades, prior to the rebuild of 2016-2018.

That said, Dirk Nowitzki entered the NBA in 1998 and it is now 2019. The best of the Dirk show is behind us and every point scored after this point will be a present wrapped and placed under the tree by the Big German himself.

So what makes this return of the G.O.A.T. important to the team and not just about his potential final ride in a Mavs uniform? It has a lot more to do with leadership than his on the court productivity.

Yes, that hurts to write just as much as it does to read, but the Mavs need him around more than people think. And that doesn’t even take into account the fact that Nowitzki is going to get some of his offensive prowess back as his minutes increase and he gets back to his routine.

Dallas has to remember that Dirk is a 7-foot shooter. No matter how old he gets or how much he labors getting up and down the court, there are still few in the league that can prevent or impede Dirk’s fadeaway from anywhere on the court. Whether it fits into the Mavs current offensive system or not, that is a good thing to have available to you in a time of need.

Dirk is also still a good pick-and-roll player. He can pick and pop as well as anyone in the league and he gives the offense a little more versatility as opposed to Dwight Powell and DeAndre Jordan who both roll directly to the rim. Variety is a good thing, especially if it means clearing the lane for Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. to get to the hoop.

That said, I have to reiterate the fact that Dirk’s on court performance is less influential than his leadership on and off the court. There has never been another superstar player like Dirk that was willing to do whatever it took to bring success to his city. That has not changed at his advanced age.

Dirk will continue to do all that it takes to get the Mavs win after win. Whether that means settling into a role as a low minute bench producer or if it takes him going back into the starting lineup, Dirk will be ready for that task. Even at 40 years old, he is still a dangerous weapon for this team.

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The Dallas Mavericks are on a two-game skid since Dirk returned but they are hoping to solve that issue with a road win against the top-seeded Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. It may take a perfect game, but the Mavs are up for the challenge.