Dirk Nowitzki is as talented as they come, but he cannot be possibly thought of as the best power forward in the NBA.The reason why, he doesn't have what it takes to be the best all-around power forward in the game.
He's a match up nightmare on any given night. He can't be left open anywhere on the court. He can shoot the three and his favorite spot is from either corner of the key from about 15-17 feet away. Nowitzki also has a nice little step back jumper from either corner as well.
The one thing you will not find is Nowitzki posting up anyone in the paint.
For a big man he has absolutely no skills underneath the basket. He doesn't possess a hook shot regardless of hand and he's not a danger on the offensive glass.
Defensively he is below average he doesn't have the strength to guard bigger power forwards, he doesn't block many shots, and he doesn't rebound particularly well either.
Taking a look at the 2009-2010 season he was out rebounded by 24 players, so how is he the best power forward in the NBA? When there's 14 power fowards outer bounding him, eight centers, and two small forwards.
There are 30 players ahead of him in blocks per game. There are 15 power forwards, 13 centers, a small forward, and a shooting guard.
Nowitzki led all power forwards in scoring with 25 points per game, but just because he was the leader in points by a power forward doesn't mean he's the best power forward in the NBA. There's more to basketball than just scoring points.
Looking at Nowitzki's rebounding numbers 7.7 is way too low.
When DeJuan Blair in only 18 minutes of action nearly grabs the same amount of rebounds that pretty much says it all right there.
Nowitzki doesn't like to be defended by physical players. Even though Nowitzki got to the line 7.2 times per game, most of his free throw attempts come from a defender running at him and hitting his arm on his shot. Very rarely will you see Nowitzki be underneath the basket to get a three point play opportunity.
According to 82games.com Nowitzki 83 percent of his shots were jumpers while 17 percent of his shots came from within close. Now, compared to other power forwards in the league there's no percentage even close to that number. Why? Cause nearly all power forwards in the NBA have the ability to post up and score from the inside.
Comparing the numbers to Nowitzki, Chris Bosh took 54 percent of his shots as jumpers and another 46 percent of his shots came from within close. For Carlos Boozer 49 percent of his shots were jumpers while 51 percent came from close.
Pau Gasol's percentages are 39 percent jumpers and 61 percent from the inside. Josh Smith 36 percent of shots were jumpers while 64 percent came from the inside. David Lee went for 49 percent jumpers and 51 percent from the inside.
Tim Duncan percentages were 59 percent jumpers and 41 percent from close. Amare Stoudemire's percentages were 51 percent jumpers and 49 percent from the inside.
As it clearly shows Nowitizki by a wide margin would rather attempt jumpers rather than go inside.
More recently though, the Mavericks have found it more and more difficult to get out of the first round. Even in Nowitzki's MVP season, the Mavericks season ended early in which the Mavericks lost to the eighth seeded Golden State Warriors.
In that six game series with the Warriors, a team that was not known for being solid defensively, and yet Nowitizki averaged playoff lows for points, field goal percentage, and and three point percentage.
The Warriors held him to 19.7 points, on 38.3 percent shooting, and 21.1 percent from beyond the arc. Again the Warriors were not known for being a team that emphasized defense and what makes it worse is the fact that Nowitizki in the 2006-2007 season won the MVP award.
But, what about the other power forwards that won a MVP in the decade? Did Nowitzki come close to the players that won it? There are two other power forwards that won it and that was Tim Duncan who won it twice and Kevin Garnett who won it once.
In Nowitzki's MVP season he averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, .7 steals, .8 blocks, on 50.2 percent shooting, 41.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 90.4 percent from the free throw line.
Duncan's 2001-2002 season in which he won the MVP he averaged 25.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, .7 steals, 2.5 blocks, on 50.8 percent shooting, and 79.9 percent from the free throw line.
Duncan's 2002-2003 season he averaged 23.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, .7 steals, 2.9 blocks, on 51.3 percent shooting, and 71 percent from the free throw line.
Garnett's only MVP Award came in the 2003-2004 season where he averaged 24.2 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 steals, 2.2 blocks, on 49.9 percent shooting, and 79.1 percent from the free throw line.
Garnett and Duncan are aging and are a shell of their former selves. They can still put up big numbers, but they are no longer the number one options on their teams. So, that's why the question has become is Nowitzki the best power forward in the NBA?
Even with the transition the answer is no. Nowitzki doesn't have the all-around game to be declared the best in the NBA at the power forward position.
If you were to ask which power forward is the best scorer? Then yes, Nowitzki would be the best in the NBA, but there's more to the game of basketball than just scoring points and shooting for high percentages.
For Nowitzki to be considered the best he needs to rebound more, play with his back to the basket, and become a better defender. He's been in the league for 12 years now and since it hasn't happened yet it more than likely won't. Meaning that Nowitzki should not be considered the best power forward in the NBA.
At this point with the decline of Duncan and Garnett. Chris Bosh becomes the best power forward in the NBA. For the 2009-2010 season he averaged 24 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, .6 steals, 1 block, on 51.8 percent shooting, and 79.7 percent from the free throw line.
Bosh is only 26-years of age coming into his prime while Nowitzki is about to turn 32-years-old. Bosh has already played seven years in the league and already has three seasons where he averaged a double double while Nowitzki has never had a season averaging a double double.
Although, Bosh may not be considered an above average defender he's still better than Nowitzki is.
The Raptors may have missed the playoffs, but Bosh nearly got them there. Part of the reason was that Bosh didn't get much help from his teammates Jose Calderon struggled, Hedo Turkoglu was a major disappointment for the Raptors especially after he spurned the Trail Blazers to come to Toronto, Jarrett Jack was a nice pickup for the team, and Andrea Bargnani showed flashes of why he was taken as the number one pick.
As for the Mavericks, the team was loaded with talent especially after the trade of Josh Howard to the Washington Wizards. Nowitzki had help from Jason Terry one of the best sixth men in the league, Caron Butler an all-star a 20 point scorer and an above average defender, Shawn Marion who has slowed a little but still talented and still a good defender, and of course there's Jason Kidd one of the greatest passing point guards in NBA history.
Yet, again the Mavericks were sent home early in the playoffs being knocked out in six games by the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors pretty much know what the team has to do to improve for the Mavericks the question now is what is going to happen to the team?
According to some reports Nowitzki is going to think about returning to the Mavericks and even if he does return to the team. Is it time for the Mavericks to start rebuilding the team? Over the years it has been proven that Nowitzki and his supporting cast cannot get it done in the playoffs.
The reality is if Nowitzki ever wants to see a ring he's going to have to give up the notion of being the number one option of the team. He'd need to become the number two option and on top of that become more of a true power forward as well. Meaning banging on the glass, grabbing tough rebounds, and blocking shots. Which is truly hard to see happening since he has never been able to do that before.