Dirk Nowitzki is starting his 17th NBA training camp this week — but he doesn’t want it to be his last one.
Nowitzki will play this season on a revamped Mavericks roster, and he has a player option for next season. Will he take it? At the Mavericks media day Monday Nowitzki was asked about his plans for retirement. Via Earl K. Sneed of the Mavs official website.
It will be sad to see one of the all-time great shooters go, but it’s becoming time.
Nowitzki is a future Hall of Famer and for my money the best European player ever, but his game has started to slip. Last season he was missing more open shots. According to NBA.com, Nowitzki hit 47 percent of his open (defender 4-6 feet away) two-point shots last season, down from 52 percent the season before. He shot 42 percent on open jumpers inside 10 feet. He missed more of his isolation jumpers. His numbers in a lot of categories faded as the season dragged on. I could go on and on, but the point is simple:
Nowitzki isn’t the guy who can carry a contending team anymore as the No. 1 option. He’s still good, but he’s growing old and is going to need help. I don’t think this Dallas roster has near enough of it to contend.
I’m going to miss Nowitzki when he goes, but that time is coming. In a couple of seasons.