In the rush of excitement over Dirk Nowitzki’s stirring Playoff performances this year, many have understandably gone overboard when attempting to rank Dirk historically. Nowitzki’s coach, Rick Carlisle, goes overboard when assessing the German’s place in today’s game. From SRI (via ESPN radio): “What has changed since they won the NBA Championship: ‘For me the most drastic change was there was kind of this calm for two months and then all of the sudden Mark Cuban was everywhere again. He was in the interview room and he was on TV. I was so happy for him. Him and I had an embrace as the horn went off and I just told him how thrilled I was for him and for all the people, there have been people that have worked for this franchise for 30 years that have waited and waited and labored and tried to sell tickets during cold periods of seven, eight, or nine years. Donnie Nelson and Nellie, they find a way to come up with Dirk Nowitzki and then things started getting better. Then it’s (Steve) Nash and (Michael) Finley and all those guys. Then there’s 2006 and the disappointment of that. The five years between then and now have been up and down and there’s been inconsistency, but this year was defined by a team that really was focused, the acquisition of (Tyson) Chandler made all the difference in the world to us on so many different levels. The season, the success really came down to two things: Resourcefulness and being opportunistic. This was not the most talented team in the playoffs by any stretch, but it was the smartest team, the most together team, the most committed team, and it was a team that was extremely tough. As we’re the only ones left in I can tell you right now two things. We are the toughest team on the planet. The second thing that I know for sure at this moment, Dirk Nowitzki is the best basketball player on this planet.’”