Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has sat out international competition since 2011, is joining the German national team for the biennial EuroBasket competition. The squad won't play its first match until next month, but the Germans already took part in a warm-up game, losing to Croatia 74-72 in overtime Friday night.
Nowitzki had 11 points on 3 of 9 shooting along with 6 rebounds. Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder, who the Mavericks passed on taking in the 2013 draft, recorded 13 points and 4 assists while Sixers draft pick Dario Saric had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Croatia.
The teams won't meet in actual competition without both advancing in group play to the knockout stage. Germany is looking to be one of the top four teams in a group that includes European powerhouses Spain and Serbia as well as Italy, Turkey and Iceland.
The EuroBasket competition will decide two berths for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. But barring a major surprise, Germany won't be one of those squads. So for Nowitzki, at age 37, this tournament could quite possibly be the last time he suits up for the national team.
Coming off an NBA title run in 2011, Dirk averaged more than 19 points and 6 rebounds for a German squad that finished ninth at EuroBasket. It was a disappointing outcome for a team that placed fifth at the same competition four years earlier and, later, earned an appearance at the 2008 Beijing games.
Nowitzki acknowledged earlier this summer that he probably would have stayed retired from international competition if Berlin wasn't one of the host cities for EuroBasket this year. Hopefully German fans will reward his decision with a vocal presence at the tournament -- all five of the team's games in the Round of 16 will be played in Berlin.
Schroder won't be the only NBA talent joining Dirk on the national team. Tibor Pleiss, a 7'1" center who played with Nowitzki at the 2011 EuroBasket, signed a three-year deal with the Jazz this summer. The 2010 NBA draft pick most recently played for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league.
Germany's Full Schedule for the Round of 16
September 5 - vs. Iceland
September 6 - vs. Serbia
September 8 - vs. Turkey
September 9 - vs. Italy
September 10 - vs. Spain