In life, we are always told that ‘age is just a number’. We use that phrase to make others and ourselves feel better when in actuality, we are getting too old to do something. Kobe realized that this year, with the retirement announcement. Kobe would love to continue to play the game he loves, but he understands now that he isn’t the player he once was.
Dirk Nowitzki is one player who understands what the age has done to him, but that hasn’t stopped him. Yes, Dirk can’t play defense at the level he once could as some of the younger big men are too quick for him now. But, the one thing that gives Dirk an edge is his understanding of that.
Dirk knows that his time in the NBA will end soon, maybe not for a couple years but, nevertheless, soon. He lets Rick Carlisle sub him out constantly late in games so that Dallas can put in their better defender in Dwight Powell for him. Nowitzki knows his role and does what he needs to do for the benefit of the team. Sure, while Dirk’s defense is sub-par (at best), his offense is the thing that STILL makes him so great.
If you haven’t seen the numbers that Dirk has been putting up this year, then you have to listen up. Dirk is playing INCREDIBLE. Yes, the caps were 100% necessary. Just look at his numbers:
Dirk is on pace for a 50/40/90 season. (At the age of 37!!!!) His shooting has been terrific and his post-up game, has been as good as ever.
So far this season, the Mavericks have gone to Dirk 82 times. 69 of those times, Dirk has shot it and he’s shooting roughly 52% from there. That’s still spectacular for the 37 year old and the best part of going to the post with Dirk is that he’s smart and doesn’t turnover the ball.
Dirk only has a 4.9% turnover rate when the ball goes to him in the post. To give that a comparison, Marc Gasol, who is known as a phenomenal passer, has a 15.7% turnover percentage.
(All stats from nba.com)
Dirk is defying all odds and having such great success at his age. You gotta love it. If he keeps this up, Dirk can break a whole list of records as the only person over the age of 35 ever to shoot this well was Steve Nash. Let’s see if he can keep up this hot start.