Much to the delight of Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki has taken some summers off from the German national team recently. But not this summer, the EuroBasket championships for that continent — and 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament — starts Sept. 5, and Nowitzki is trying to get his nation to the big Carnival in Brazil.
There could be an advantage with that — he may begin the NBA season in a groove. He looked good for Germany against Poland recently — 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, all in 23 minutes. It’s common for players to come out of these tournaments and roll into the season sharper than if they had just been working out at a gym.
Why did Nowitzki decide to suit up? The late start and that some of the games were in Germany, he told Mavs.com.
“You know, if it had been in July or early August, then I think there would have been no chance,” Nowitzki explained after making the decision to return to international play in June. “That would have meant that I would have had to practice right through and not even take some time off. But this way it’s, like I said, in September. I’m usually here (in Dallas), playing with the guys anyways in five-on-five, so that really was the big key for me. That way, all month of May, I was traveling some, and June was off. I got some family time in…
“You know, to me, it was the big deal that the tournament, or at least the first round, is in Germany,” Nowitzki confessed. “I think I’ve never had a home European championship or world championship at home. This means a lot to our country and to the basketball world in our country. Berlin is an amazing basketball city already over the last 10, 15 or 20 years, so this should be fun. We have a murderous group with a lot of great countries, but we’re going to give it our best and see what happens. But at 37, obviously, that’s not easy. I think in the first round we’ve got like five games in six days.”
Germany is in the group of death — Spain, Serbia, Turkey, Italy, and Iceland. Only the top four from that group advance to the knockout stage. We can safely say that Iceland is hosed here. Germany is a good team — Atlanta’s Dennis Schröder is on it — but they are likely fifth best in a group, so they will need an upset of Turkey or Italy (Spain and Serbia likely advance).
Nowitzki is capable of delivering that.
But you know Cuban hates to see the extra miles on his star’s legs before the season even starts.