There’s no doubting Dirk Nowitzki’s commitment to the Mavericks. Watching him in the locker room after games, you could tell even though Nowitzki has accepted it, he badly wants to get the Mavs back to their winning ways.
“Yeah, of course, if that’s what it takes for us to be a better team next year,” Nowitzki said “Hopefully even playoff considerations. We’ll see what’s going to happen this summer, I know Mark [Cuban] and Donnie [Nelson] are gonna work their butt off with the draft first and then some free agency things and see how the team looks next year.
“Anywhere I can help with this franchise obviously or make the franchise better, I’m all for it.”
Nowitzki is recovering from a recent ankle surgery, which he also confirmed was done in part to get him ready for a 21st season. Dirk even mentioned that he considered coming off the bench this season when he struggled early on. He shot under 40 percent in three of the first four games of the season.
The biggest issue for Dirk coming off the bench isn’t really his willingness, but how he can physically do it. Dirk has said in the past his only real worry about coming off the bench is how he handles warming up before the game, then getting stiff sitting on the bench before checking in sometime during the first quarter. If the Mavericks training staff can keep Dirk loose and ready, it sounds like Dirk will do it.
It also depends on what happens this summer. With the loss to the Suns tonight, the Mavericks will be, at worst, tied for the third-best draft odds in the lottery. That means they have a good chance to earn a top-three pick and maybe even the first overall pick. There are a lot of centers and big forwards to pick from at the top of the draft, and if the Mavericks take someone like DeAndre Ayton, Mohammed Bamba, Jaren Jackson, Marvin Bagley, or Michael Porter, you could see a scenario where Dirk comes off the bench so the Mavs can play Harrison Barnes at the four or at the three if the Mavs draft a bigger forward. Barnes has played well at the three to close the season out, so maybe Dirk starts anyway even if the Mavericks draft a center.
Either way, Dirk is coming back and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the Mavs out of tank mode. That’ll be a tall order, but Dirk forever.