4 Reasons Dirk Nowitzki Could Take New Dallas Mavericks to the Playoffs
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Not to make excuses for his bad 2011-12 campaign, but the hangover from winning the championship coupled with the lockout appeared to hinder Dirk's conditioning.
We all remember the impromptu midseason boot camp he put himself through to try and right the ship, but it just wasn't meant to be.
Nowitzki appears to have learned from his offseason mistakes from a year ago.
The 34-year-old star has some encouraging words for fans, as he told the Dallas Mavericks Blog in an email interview.
“I tried to keep in shape all summer long so that it would not be hard to pick up my usual training routine,” Nowitzki said in an email interview. “I feel great. My knees feel fine, and that’s important. I am ready to go.”
Let's look at why Dirk will take this new Mavs squad to the playoffs this season.
Natural Born Leader
Dirk putting in the work, leading by example.
Chris Chambers/Getty Images
In spite of Nowitzki's up-and-down season last year, his work ethic is something that has never been in question.
While Dirk's promise of a better year this season makes fans feels warm and fuzzy inside, actions speak louder than words.
“He was in here working out and staying in shape,” Mayo said. “It was a crazy, crazy thing to see because he’s a franchise player and he was here early like it’s his first or second year. I think that’s enough said there.”
When a superstar gives blood, sweat and dedication to improving all the time, it sends a strong message to the other 11 guys that they shouldn't be above giving their all either.
Somebody should tap Carmelo Anthony on the shoulder and let him in on this little secret, but that's an article for another day.
Dirk has such a great understanding of this, and that is the primary reason why this new Mavs team will make it to the playoffs.
Out with the Old, In with the New
Newest guards O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison, No. 32 and No. 4. Photo Credit: Espn.com
Beaubois isn't a new addition to the Mavs like Mayo and Collison are, but collectively all three guards give Dirk the necessary pieces to run an explosive offense.
Head coach Rick Carlisle told the team's website that he's confident that Beaubois puts it all together this season.
He’s done a lot of good things over a three or four-year period, and this is the year that he’s gonna put it all together. He’s had to battle through injury issues two out of his three years, and it’s been something that’s hindered him. But, you know, he’s another guy that can play the 1 and can play the 2, and often times when you look on the floor with our team you’re gonna see two guards out there that can both handle the ball and can both play off the ball.
The other two guards that Carlisle is alluding to are Mayo and Collison. Both of these young talents have playoff experience and will definitely be a welcomed addition for Nowitzki.
Their transition to Dallas should be seamless, as they're already somewhat comfortable playing aside one another from their summertime pick-up games.
“It’s going to help make it a lot easier,” Mayo said. “Competing against Darren, I understand he’s a great player and a heck of a competitor. When we play in the summertime at UCLA, we’re actually on the same team a lot of time just because we’re familiar with each other and feel like that can give us an edge in pickup games.”
It's still the Nowitzki show in Dallas, but having the ability to platoon Beaubois, Mayo and Collison should comfort fans who may still be concerned about losing Kidd and Terry this offseason.
Frontcourt Additions to Aid Dirk
Elton Brand and Chris Kamen, back together, this time in Dallas.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Not only are Elton Brand and Chris Kamen comfortable with each other from their days together with the Los Angeles Clippers, but they both used to be the focal point of defenses.
That will change now that they are Mavericks.
Nowitzki draws the attention here, so the hope is that Brand and Kamen can do the dirty work on defense, and take advantage of open shots on offense.
Both guys give Dirk more depth beyond Shawn Marion and Brandan Wright.
With Dirk's new frontcourt veteran mates, the chances of any growing pains of playing together should be minimal.
Ultimately, more weapons down low will make Nowitzki's life easier and increase his chances of taking this team to the playoffs.
Not Getting Any Younger
Dirk Nowitzky will be back in a big way in 2012-13.
David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Expect Dirk to be playing with a little chip on his shoulder due to a down season last year, but also with some urgency.
The 34-year-old is entering the final two years of his contract, and who knows what the Hall-of-Fame-bound Nowitzki will want to do at the age of 36.
Dirk is going to will this new unit of players to play well together because in the back of his mind, he knows that his window is closing fast.
Despite losing out on acquiring some of the biggest names in free agency, Mark Cuban scrounged together several solid pieces to help Dirk get back to the playoffs.
Last season wasn't even a shell of the kind of player Nowitzki still is. He will rebound this season in a big way, and all the new players will be along for a ride that is playoff bound.