13-time NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki remains optimistic that the Dallas Mavericks could still earn a playoff in the 2016-17 NBA season.
In the recent off-season, the Mavericks managed to improve their roster with the acquisition of Andrew Bogut, Seth Curry, and Harrison Barnes. The championship experience of Bogut and Barnes were expected to be a huge help for the Mavericks in making a deep playoff run this season.
Dirk Nowitzki missed 13 games of the season due to illness and a strained left Achilles tendon. The Mavericks are currently in the 14th spot in the Western Conference with 10-24 win-loss record. Despite their struggle, the 38-year-old NBA veteran still believes the Mavericks could enter the playoffs.
“We obviously know we still have a legit shot,” he told reporters Monday.
“We gotta put a little string together, we gotta play better, gotta find ways in games that we’re there to close some of those out, and not always come out on the losing end. But I feel like the last, whatever, couple weeks, I think we’re playing like .500 balls, which is OK, which is a lot better than when we started off.”
Injuries continue to hit the Mavericks since the start of the season. So far, J.J. Barea remains sidelined due to left leg injury. Coach Rick Carlisle has been yet to figure out how to effectively use Andre Bogut and Dirk Nowitzki as his frontcourt starters.
ANDREW BOGUT GIVES WAY FOR DIRK NOWITZKI
For now, Bogut is open to the idea of coming off the bench. Nowitzki will be allowed to start the game at center and Bogut to come in the first time out. Nowitzki praised the former Warriors center for voluntarily adjusting for the team.
“That’s a veteran move, a guy who’s been around, a champion,” Nowitzki said of Bogut. “Everybody’s got to sacrifice a little. I still think that when I’m completely healthy and on my normal minutes that somehow we got to play together. We just got to make it work some. I’m not ready to throw in the towel on our four-five combo. But so far, it hasn’t looked great.
Bogut can be effective on both ends as he was a good low-post scorer and a quality rim protector. Dirk Nowitzki preferred to play at power forward and a reliable three-point shooter. If Coach Rick Carlisle learns how to make both big men fit in his frontcourt, there is a higher possibility that the Mavericks could still compete for a playoff spot.
Photo courtesy: scott mecum/Wikimedia
Video courtesy: Youtube/FreeDawkins