Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, thinks he can squeeze three more seasons of all-star caliber production out of his 35-year-old franchise power forward Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki, who wasn’t selected for the All-Star Game this year for the first time in 11 seasons, has found the form that has has made him one of the most feared big men in the league in the second half averaging, 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line.
ESPN Dallas writer Tim McMahon, wrote that Cuban feels it’s very realistic to think that Nowitzki can keep this up for a few more seasons.
“What we’re seeing now with Dirk is what we can expect to see next year and the year after, if he stays healthy,” Cuban said. “And the year after that.”
“At least,” Cuban said.
If you ask the native of Germany, unsurprisingly, he seems a bit more hesitant than his owner to make such a statement.
“I’m not sure about all that,” said Nowitzki… “We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully I can finish this season strong and have a good summer like I basically did last year with a lot of lifting and running and hopefully not have a setback with a surgery. We’ll see how consistent I can be again next season.”
Cuban doesn’t see Nowitzki as a role player, using players such as Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan as examples of great players who have sustained their All-Star level production even as their careers are winding down. He sites advances in technology and proper dieting for making such cases possible.
“Is Kevin Garnett a role player? Is Tim Duncan a role player?” Cuban asked rhetorically. “Do you think Tim Duncan is going to be a role player next year? You think Kevin Garnett is going to be a role player next year? And those guys are based more on athleticism than Dirk is, you know?”
“Just because of the technology, guys can stay healthy longer,” Cuban said. “The science of dieting and health is just completely different than when we let Steve Nash walk nine years ago. I think it’s just a different animal.”
I don’t think its absolutely ridiculous to think that Dirk can put up decent numbers for three more seasons. I mean it’s not like his athleticism can diminish to a lower level than it is right now right? The real battle will be in his mind, he has to want it as bad as his owner does.
As Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will attest, the amount of work that goes into preparing their bodies for the grind of an NBA season night in, night out, at their age can be draining.