When Harrison Barnes swung by the PBT Podcast recently, he talked about how Dirk Nowitzki — at that point still out of the lineup with a sore Achilles — had helped him because the plays hadn’t changed, just it was now Barnes getting the rock.
“The biggest thing he’s helped me with is just kind of where to get my shots, how to get into a flow, how to be aggressive,” Barnes said. “A lot of my plays are plays he’s been in for years. He knows the system better than anybody, he knows how to get his shot off better than anybody, so he’s been helping along through this process and he’s been a great mentor.”
That’s been happening a lot. Barnes moved from the three to the four for the final play against the Clippers so he could get the ball in a Nowitzki position, then hit a runner for the game winner.
Don’t think Nowitzki hasn’t noticed — or isn’t poking fun at Barnes for it.
Just to be clear, this was good natured. The two get along well. It’s easy to joke like that after wins, and Dallas picked up a good one at home Tuesday against a Wizards team that had come in hot. Also, Nowitzki recognizes he’s at the end of his career — either this summer or the one after — and that Barnes is the future. Nowitzki doesn’t want to go out in a bad shot gunning blaze of glory, he’s going to mentor the young player.
And with the two of them in the lineup, the Mavericks have won 5-of-9. They are not an automatic win for the opponent anymore.