Dirk Nowitzki

Nowitzki could return to help Germany qualify for Olympics

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Dirk Nowitzki decided to sit EuroBasket out, and as a result Germany was one of the teams eliminated after group play. Germany will not be taking part in the World Championships in Spain next summer.

Qualifying for the World Championship is easy compared to Olympic qualification — there are 24 total World Championship slots, 12 for the Rio Olympics. Europe will have at least seven and as many as nine teams in Spain, but for the Olympics there are only a handful of slots available (Europe had 5 teams at the London Olympics, and one was host Great Britain).

Nowitzki is considering a return to international competition if he can help get Germany into the Rio Olympics, he told ESPNDallas.com.

“If I’m still healthy enough and we have a chance to qualify, then I’d consider it,” Nowitzki told ESPN.com late Monday.

Nowitzki was responding to statements made earlier Monday by Germany coach Frank Menz, who told ESPN.com’s Mark Woods after Germany’s elimination from the EuroBasket tournament in Slovenia that the face of the Dallas Mavericks has left open the possibility of a national-team return if the squad continues to progress.

Germany qualified for the 2008 games in Beijing, but missed out on 2012. To qualify for 2016 they could add Atlanta Hawks rookie guard Dennis Schroeder as well as journeyman center Chris Kaman (who helped Germany get to the Olympics in 2008). They also have some solid international players around those guys.

But Nowitzki is the star, the glue, the guy that makes it all work.

The main issue may be age and health. Nowitzki is 35 now, he will be 37 during qualifying and 38 for the next Olympics — will he want to tax his body that much to try to make it to Rio in those offseasons? Coming off knee surgery last season, will he be healthy? Also remember he has a family now and summers with them and not on the court play into the decisions.

We know what Mark Cuban thinks, but we’ll see what Nowitzki thinks in a couple years.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.