Dirk Nowitzki hasn't yet reached the point in his career where he's making All-Star teams thanks to his reputation. The Dallas Mavericks superstar forward has been to the All-Star Game every year since 2002, and he has his consistent production to thank for that.
While Nowitzki hasn't reached the point where he's being tabbed just because of his reputation, he very well could this week. The NBA All-Star reserves are due to be announced on Thursday, and Nowitzki may be announced as a backup for the Western Conference team.
This despite the fact Nowitzki is having his worst season in over a decade. He's averaging just 17.2 points per game, the worst he's done since he averaged 17.5 points per game in 1999-2000.
To his credit, Nowitzki understands that he's not having a great season, and that he doesn't deserve to be an All-Star.
Here's what he had to say about the matter, via ESPNDallas.com:
"Averaging whatever, 15, 16 points, I don't think you should be an All-Star. But we'll just have to wait and see. I think there is a lot of great young talent in this league that deserves to go. I think LaMarcus Aldridge has been stiff the last couple of years. He's a great young player, fun to watch. You know Blake and Love are playing great. There is a lot of talent at my position."
Nowitzki is right about Aldridge and Kevin Love. Aldridge is averaging 23.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and Love is averaging 25.0 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. The two of them are two of the best power forwards in the NBA, much less the Western Conference.
Paul Millsap of the Utah Jazz is also having a solid season, averaging 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. David Lee of the Golden State Warriors is averaging 18.4 and 9.9, and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers is averaging 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.
If we were to judge players by production alone, all of the players mentioned above would get considered for an All-Star spot before Nowitzki. But since Nowitzki has been one of the best players in the NBA for over a decade, and because he's fresh off a thrilling run to the NBA Finals in 2011, you can't rule out him being selected to the All-Star Game.
He shouldn't be, though. The players who deserve to go should go, and Nowitzki's not one of them. It's not complicated.
There are a lot of fans out there who would no doubt love nothing more than to see Nowitzki at the All-Star Game, but it's clear that he wouldn't mind if he didn't go.
He's already been to 10 of them, after all.