Dallas Mavericks: Where Does Dirk Nowitzki Rank Among All Time Forwards?
Is Dallas Mavericks Forward in a Class With Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor and Tim Duncan?
Dirk Nowitzki is a difficult player to rank. He is unique—a seven-footer who is as comfortable shooting threes as he is hitting an off-balance shot; a player who has taken heat throughout his career for a perceived lack of toughness.
People often relate rebounding numbers to toughness. Nowitzki is no slouch on the boards—averaging eight per game throughout his career. But seven-footers should always be pulling down double-digit rebounds, or so the argument goes.
The fact is Nowitzki's game does not lend itself to pulling down every rebound. He takes perimeter shots and is not in position for every carom.
"He's going to go down as one of the great players that played this game, regardless," Tyson Chandler told The Kansas City Star. "Critics are always going to have something to say, but if you're getting my perspective on things, I'm impressed.
Where does he rank among the all-time greats? Truly great players don't fit into molds. Larry Bird might have been the first three-point assassin, Tim Duncan plays more like players from the 1950s than anyone in the league today. Dirk is a seven-footer who excels playing one-on-one.
But for now, we'll put him on Karl Malone's level—somewhere below Bird, but ahead of virtually everyone else.
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