Special contributor to WFAA.com
Posted on February 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Wednesday, Feb 8 at 1:02 PM
So, Dirk is probably ok.
Dirk is a phenom. He's the best athlete I've followed in my sports life. He's an absolute unique beast who defies categorization, unless that category is Dirks, and he is the only member of the category- like a No Homers Allowed Club, only with Dirks.
So, Dirk is probably ok. Despite the fact that he's shooting 43 per cent. And that he's shooting .178 from behind the arc. Those are far and away the worst marks Dirk has had since his brutal rookie season.
Hey, his PER (a rate stat which measures overall production per minute) wouldn't be the second worst of his career. His curent 17.7 beats out both his first year's mark of 12.8 and his second year mark of... 17.5.
But, seriously. Dirk's probably ok. It's a short season. The truncated training camp can't have helped a man whose offseason was probably spent enjoying life instead of doing whatever it is Holger Geschwindner had him do during those non-Championship years. And he earned every inch of that with last season's performance.
But... Dirk Nowitzki is 33 years old, and sometime in the next three games will play his 42,000th minute of regular or post-season NBA play. That's more minutes than David Robinson or Larry Bird played during their careers. Only 2,000 less than Charles Barkley played. And what about Kevin Garnett- he went from 18.8 points per game at age 31, to 15.8 at 32, to 14.3 at 33, to 13.1 now, with his PER dropping from 25.3 to 18.2 now.
And that decline began after Garnett had logged his 40,000th minute in the NBA, after a season where he played 3,315 between the 82 game grind and the postseason.
Dirk played 3,330 last season.
Now, Kevin Garnett still a good NBA basketball player. But you have to have Celtic-green contact lenses- and probably be a little drunk on green St. Patrick's Day beers- to call him elite anymore.
And where are the Mavericks, in the NBA pecking order, if Dirk is merely pretty ok as a player, and no longer the legendary figure he has been for so long?
I mean, I'm pretty sure he's ok, and all. But, maybe...
No, I think he's going to be ok.
I... I hope he's going to be ok.
Joseph Ursery has never joined a No Homers Allowed Club, as he prefers inclusion to exclusion. He can be found at @thejoeursery on Twitter.