Dirk Nowitzki, Mike Scott

Cuban thinks Nowitzki can be elite three more years. Dirk not so sure.


It took a while after he recovered from knee surgery during training camp, but Dirk Nowizki is back to being his old self. In his last five games he’s averaged 19.6 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting and 52.6 percent from three. He’s pulling down 9.2 boards a game, too. Basically, All-Star numbers.

So how long can the 34-year-old keep going at this level?

Owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com he thinks a few more years (via SLAM).

“What we’re seeing now with Dirk is what we can expect to see next year and the year after, if he stays healthy,” Cuban said. “And the year after that.”

Three more seasons after this one. Up through age 37. At this level.

What does Dirk himself think of that?

“I’m not sure about all that,” said Nowitzki, a 15-year veteran who is averaging the fewest points (16.4) since his rookie year after missing the first 27 games of the season following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. “We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I can finish this season strong and have a good summer like I basically did last year with a lot of lifting and running and hopefully not have a setback with a surgery. We’ll see how consistent I can be again next season.”

Dirk may take half a step back, but for a few years he can be a part of a contending team, if the Mavericks can get the star free agent to go next to him. Problem is that is not likely this summer — don’ bet on Chris Paul or Dwight Howard moving teams, and after that the market takes a drop. On the other hand 2014 could be a deeper free agent group.

Which means it’s in Cuban’s interest to say his current star has a lot left in the tank.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.