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Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 at 12:08 pm  |  150 responses

Top 50: Dirk Nowitzki, no. 7

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport

We waited a long time for this Dirk Nowitzki. It’s been 13 years since the Dallas Mavericks used their 9th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft on a gangly, 7-footer from Wurzburg, Germany that captivated our basketball imaginations with an unprecedented ability to stroke it from deep, from 20, from 15, hell, from any-friggin’-where on the court, all while making it look like taking candy from a baby. This kid has the goods, we thought. So we endured. We shrugged off his romp through the Paul Mitchell hairstyle catalog. He’s European, that’s how they wear their hair, we explained. We let him off the hook for those early exits in the Playoffs because it was clear he didn’t have the help he needed to get over the hump. With the right pieces around him, he’ll get it done, we said.

Eight seasons in, it looked like our wait was over. Dirk started stomping with the big dogs and put the Mavs on his back all the way to the 2006 NBA Finals, taking a two-game lead in the series over Miami. Dallas has this in the bag, we thought.

But then, things fell apart like a soup sandwich. Dirk and Co. served up a meltdown for the ages. Four L’s in a row. It was Buffalo Bills-esque. And Dirk? He was Jim Kelly 2.0.  Persona non grata.

After that epic collapse, we hammered the German like he was a railroad spike. Worse, we did it with pingy, two-word jabs:

“He choked.”

“He’s soft.”

“Not clutch.”

“He’s European.”

It was open season on Dirk’s heart and mettle, so much so, that even Dwyane Wade took a swipe:

“He wasn’t the leader he’s supposed to be in the closing moments.”

So how did Dirk respond? He went back to the basics with trusted advisor/shooting coach/Yoda Holger Geschwinder and beasted his way to a monster MVP campaign in ’07. Dirkus Maximus was ready for redemption, we thought.

But then The Golden State Warriors happened. Ousted in the first round, Dirk was deflated, which was counterproductive, since we beat him up for his lack of clutchness repeatedly like he was a piñata draped in lederhosen. And rightfully so. He who wears the crown…

Fast forward to June 2011. It had been 13 years and change and yet, here we were, still waiting on Dirk to breakthrough. Difference was, we were no longer holding our breath. There were too many other superstars to root for: Kobe, Durant, ‘Melo, CP3, Wade, LeBron. It was never gonna happen for Dallas, not with their one-star constructed band of outcasts. Sure, they stayed winning in the regular season, but they’d never be “Charlie Sheen” in the postseason. We were sure of it.

But Mark Cuban knew. Jason Terry knew. Tyson Chandler knew. Dirk had been concocting unblockable, one-legged J’s with Geschwinder.  He’d been perfecting his iso game, his toughness, his clutch gene. He’d been demanding the ball in crunch time and delivering like FedEx. He’d developed into a bona fide leader. He’d finally become that Dirk. They all knew that we’d see it and believe. Again.

The final number was 582. Mathematically, 582 points doesn’t seem like much, but all those step-back, fadeaway jumpers, long balls from behind the arc and the 175 ice water free throws Dirk dropped on the Blazers, the Lakers, the Thunder and the Heat on the road to redemption were nothing short of extraordinary.

Those 24 straight freebies he drained on OKC in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals after he had every Thunder defender thrown at him futility jumping like schizoid Jack-in-the-Boxes to thwart his J? Ridiculous. The way he drained shot after shot with OKC’s collective hands across America in his face? He couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. And that 40-point outburst to fuel a furious 15-point comeback in the waning five minutes of Game 4 that included the up and under scoop shot that was a la Cirque du Soleil? Are you kidding me? And Game 2 of the NBA Finals? You could practically hear the theme song from “Rocky” as Dirk mounted an unforgettable comeback after “celebration gate” for the W, scoring the final nine points with 2:14 minutes remaining. That lefty spin move past Chris Bosh to the cup to seal the deal was better than any alley-oop or tomahawk dunk we’d seen all year. And just when you thought he couldn’t do it again, he went righty on Udonis Haslem for the deuce to win Game 4. The fact that he did all this with a torn tendon in his left middle finger and no legitimate All-Star sidekick will forever cement his legend in NBA Finals lore.

It was one man against the three-headed monster. Eff Jim Kelly, Dirk was now David, who’d slain Goliath.

Advantage Dirk. No choke. Not soft. Super clutch. First European to carry his team to a title as the undisputed anchor of said team. And as for being the leader he needed to be in the closing moments? Well, you can ask Wade how he feels about that now.

So after all of his postseason heroics, Dirk only moves up two spots from last year’s rankings to No. 7?

No. 7?

Somehow, the numbers don’t quite add up on that one. Dirk is the champ, the best player on the best team in the world. All roads next season have to go through him. But alas, this is about the upcoming season and what a player’s projected to do. We have no clue as to what Dirk will do for an encore to a perfect title run, but we’ll be right here, locked in, and waiting for another amazing performance.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7
40 Brook Lopez Nets C 4
39 Joakim Noah Bulls C 3
38 Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 13
37 Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 12
36 Eric Gordon Clippers SG 7
35 Tony Parker Spurs PG 10
34 Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 6
33 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 11
32 Al Horford Hawks C 2
31 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 9
30 Tim Duncan Spurs PF 10
29 Josh Smith Hawks PF 9
28 Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 5
27 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 8
26 Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 6
25 John Wall Wizards PG 7
24 Danny Granger Pacers SF 5
23 Monta Ellis Warriors SG 4
22 Joe Johnson Hawks SG 3
21 Paul Pierce Celtics SF 4
20 Steve Nash Suns PG 6
19 Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 8
18 LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 7
17 Chris Bosh Heat PF 6
16 Kevin Love TWolves PF 5
15 Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 5
14 Blake Griffin Clippers PF 4
13 Pau Gasol Lakers PF 3
12 Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 4
11 Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 2
10 Deron Williams Nets PG 3
9 Carmelo Anthony Knicks SF 3
8 Chris Paul Hornets PG 2
7 Dirk Nowitzki Mavs PF 1

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • jdizzle

    Yup Rose and Kobe ranked too high. Dirk should be considered a top 5 player after the legendary postseason run

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    The last time we saw Dirk, he defeated Kobe,Lebron,Wade,Gasol and Bosh without any other all-star or superstar. Too low in my honest opinon.

  • Matt Park

    Excellent write-up. Dirk’s playoff performance was indeed incredible.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    the commentors that feel that defende is undervalued on this list (which it has been no doubt), how do y’all feel about this one? Just remembering the playoff run makes one feel like he is top 5 offensevly, but how much does his defensive weakness hurt him in the overall ranking? He still rebounds pretty good.

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    ^ and also Durant and Westbrook.

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    @spit he is actually pretty good at defense.

  • http://hatandsunglasses.tumblr.com rinehart

    westbrook better than dirk? is that a joke? this is a joke right?

  • http://www.novalight-imaging.com novamike

    This time ESPN actually got it right. Dirk is top 5, not 7.

    First really bad call I’ve seen in these rankings.

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    i meant he defeated Westbrook and Durant without any all star.

  • http://hatandsunglasses.tumblr.com rinehart

    oh wait…westbrook is at 12 my bad. still dirk is undoubtedly top 5 in the L. There should be a rule that the FInals mvp should always be top 5, cuz ultimately hes accomplished more than any of these cats this season.

  • http://www.nba.com/celtics lights out

    definitely too low. as i’ve said before, there are a lot of guys with a legit top 5 argument, but he is a definite top 5-er. complete offensive arsenal, clutch, not a great defender but not a liability either, solid rebounder, and best of all, a winner. should absolutely, objectively be in the top 5 at least.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    God that was a good post-season. This lockout is totally ruining it. But seriously, Dirk was so epic in the playoffs. It is easy to see why some think his ranking should be top five. I doubt Dirk gives a sh!t. NBA Champion.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    There’s nothing “legendary” about Dirk’s postseason run. Dirk had a great PS but 27/8/2/48% wouldn’t qualify as “legendary” in any era. Now you want to talk about legendary, here are a couple of LBird’s postseason runs: 27/11/6/52.4% in ’84, 27/10/7/47.6% in ’86, 26/9/8/51% in ’85. Another reason why Dirk should never be compared to Larry Legend.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    So Chauncey Billups should have been in everyone’s Top-5 list after the 04 Finals? Same with TParker after the 07 Finals, PP after the 08 Finals, JDumars after the 89 Finals, and Conbred Maxwell after the 81 Finals. Those guys were never a Top-5 player at any point of their career and winning Finals MVP shouldn’t change that.

  • Slips

    Jtaylor, your argument has no place here given those players were never considered superstars before winning finals MVP. Dirk was. C’mon, a player who just put on the performance he did DESERVES THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. Dirk is a clear cut top 5 player right now, and will more than likely be next season as well regardless of the fact that he’s going into his 14th season. His game doesn’t rely on freak athleticism.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Dirk is fine at 7. Besides, the rankings are based on projected 11-12 performance, not 10-11 finals performance. You really think Dirk’s 11-12 season is going to be that much better than what he did last year?

  • http://slamonline.com Andrew woods

    Drose higher than dirk? I think carrying your team to a chip holds more weight than MVP. Lebron proved that u can guard rose consistently. There isnt a man in the league who can say that about Dirk

  • Bt

    Derrick roses ranking gets more ridiculous by the day. Score first ball dominent point guards are Never going to get you a championship. It has never happened period.

    Oh and just in case anyone’s saying isiah Thomas, he wasn’t score first he was score when needed.

  • Mick

    Sorry this racism

  • Mick

    Sorry this is straight racism

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Projected 2012 season performance is the main factor, eh? So that’s why KD and Kobe are gonna be ranked higher?
    Because y’all have some NBA crystal ball?
    Here’s hoping the german docs who fixed Kobe’s knee this summer were secretly Dirk fans. (built in self destruct, whattt?!)
    Oh well, on with the ‘ol arguing about the top 50.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    PS. Nice write-up, Maurice.

  • jdote

    You can’t do what he did last year, especially in the playoffs and not be ranked top 5. I don’t believe he’s the best player in the league but you can make the argument. He’s not a liability on defense, and on offense he’s unguardable. He’s the BEST in the NBA at creating his own shot, and he’s a knockdown shooter. I’m disappointed in this ranking.

  • Fat Lever

    Jtaylor, Bird also had guys like mchale, parish, and DJ. That will inevitably help those assist numbers. Who did dirk have? Dirk most definitely had one of the more memorable postseason runs in recent memory. Perspective, dude…

  • Yann Blavec

    If big men shoot from three, who’s gonna rebound ? Jason Kidd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I actually have him higher in my Top 10 but this isn’t neccessarily a bad ranking. I had him at #4, but maybe I should switch him and Kobe and have him number #5 instead, since Kobe actually looks healthier physically than he did during the past year. And @Mick how exactly is this racism? Enlighten me.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    So, what’s the excuse for a 7footer grabbing a measly 7rpg in the RS and 8rpg in the PS while a 6-10 Bird consistently throughout his entire career was in double digits rebounds? Yes, he had memorable postseason run but there was nothing legendary about it.

  • stokes

    Racism? @andrew woods and Bt these are projections for the upcoming season, and if anyone believes that Rose is not in the top 5 of impact players in the game they’re wrong. Quit crying, Cp3 is my favorite player but I would be a fool to believe that he would have a better season than Rose this year i’d be lying…

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Thanks Darksaber

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    this is a decent ranking I GUESS… i would have him lower personally. and jtaylor’s right… his postseason wasn’t that awesome

  • stokes

    That playoff performance was long overdue for a player that failed in big games in the past with better talent than his current squad. Dirk had a great playoffs but that should have been ring #2 nuff said ….

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    If this list is really based on the next projected season (if there is one),why does Slam think that a 34 year old Kobe with aging knees will have a better season than superstar twenty somthingers like CP3 and Blake?

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    @KJ because of Kobe’s skill-set, probably

  • stokes

    The top 6 players left sell out every arena they play in, and five of them may possibly meet in this years conference finals if the season starts. Two 23 yr olds that are the future of the game, the black mamba trying to match MJ, Flash trying to prove to the world that he’s “that” dude, the Big Monster down in Orlando will have a season that will make owners salivate at a chance to acquire him, and the King in search for his crown……

  • http://nba.com Mackdaddy

    Because Kobe’s won 2 of the last 3 championships…

  • MikeC.

    #7 seems just about right.

  • http://www.nba.com/thunder/ KJ

    @Mackdaddy But this is for projected play next season, not 3 years ago.

  • Red

    With no other All-Star? Uhm..Jason Kidd? 10x? Ok..

  • http://www.kbv4.com KBV4

    “He choked.”

    “He’s soft.”

    “Not clutch.”

    “He’s European.”

    SHONUFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JEr dawg

    Seeing his entire offensive arsenal of full display he’s proven amazing. Unfortunately, for a 7 footer his defense is average. Tyson Chandler helped that entire team and proven a perfect player next to Dirk. His ranking is justified. If he was one spot higher I have no issues either. He’s great and he gets all the respect.

  • http://sajkflf.com Jukai

    This is a-ok.

  • Cool Dude

    Holy moly the slam top 50 for pf’s this year is terrible. Dirk at 7? zbo at 19? Amare at 11?!?!?!?!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Dirk’s a hard dude to rank but I never agreed dude should skyrocket to the top of the rankings just because he led his team to a title.
    He’s definitely top 10, so this is a good ranking for him I guess.
    Rose or Durant should be next.

  • David

    If he’s really top 5, who do you push lower? LeBron, Kobe, Wade, Howard, Durant, or Rose?

    And can you really say that he would have a better season than any of them?

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    D.rose should be higher than wade. Durant too! yall act like wade was just spectacular last year. in the east conf finals he was totally awful in nearly every game. in the finals he played better than lebron(that aint saying much) so ppl take that and say wade is the best! but he aint carrying his team like the two 23 year olds. definitely not a 30 year old wade having a better year than 2 dudes just ABOUT to enter their prime

  • stayweird38

    I used to hate dirk.. I respect him now I still hate the maverick tho… but there is no way the mavs are going repeat no way its going to happen.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Rose was also awful in the conference finals.
    There is no way Rose should be higher than Wade yet.
    That day will come but no way it should be now.

  • Zabbah

    Yeah, but this is a 37 year old Jason Kidd. If Dirk had Kidd from 2003 things would’ve gone ugly for Miami, we’re talking about sweep.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    WHY ARE ALL MY COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION?!
    HAVE I BEEN BLACKLISTED??

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, I see what I did now. Nevermind. I wouldn’t have misspelled my email address if I didn’t have to keep re-putting everything back in tho.
    Anyways, in case it never posts, I said
    “Rose was also awful in the conference finals.
    There is no way Rose should be higher than Wade yet.
    That day will come but no way it should be now.”

  • http://slamonline.com Andrew woods

    @stokes…im not crying racism like others. I respect drose and his dynamic game. I just feel like putting him in front of dirk is being a little overzdalous. Honestly, I think if lebron wouldnt of created that circus of hate, they wouldnt of annointed drose with the MVP. Still, its only my opinion.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Maurice Bobb with the write up of the year on this one. Sh*t had me distracted, I hope my dogs didn’t eat the cat food lol.

  • Valerio

    Howard for sure

    If this is written thinking about 11-12 season, how can you not consider the playoffs???
    oh now a 27/8/2/48% in a team like Dallas (without a young star), in the playoffs it’s not enough???
    ok, I’m quite sure Lebron, Wade, Rose, Durant will have a better season (it’ll be hard for dirk to repeat a season like the last one) but who tell us that Kobe will??
    I mean….look at lakers season….and what about Howard?

    U can’t put Dirk higher than 5spot because of his team but after a season like the last one you can’t gibe him a 7…..

  • Valerio

    @david: Howard for sure

    If this is written thinking about 11-12 season, how can you not consider the playoffs???
    oh now a 27/8/2/48% in a team like Dallas (without a young star), in the playoffs it’s not enough???
    ok, I’m quite sure Lebron, Wade, Rose, Durant will have a better season (it’ll be hard for dirk to repeat a season like the last one) but who tell us that Kobe will??
    I mean….look at lakers season….and what about Howard?

    U can’t put Dirk higher than 5spot because of his team but after a season like the last one you can’t gibe him a 7…..

  • greg

    does anyone think they are gonna put dwight at number one over lebron this year? im guessing they will.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    but rose CARRIED his team to the conf finals!!if he wasnt spectacular they wouldnt win!! wade had a nice year. it was cool. but nothing special. im taking durant and rose next year and BEYOND over wade. no knock on wade. just think he past his prime now or about to leave it

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com yada

    i love dwight BUT HE GOT KNOCKED OUT IN THE 1ST ROUND! cmon man. atl was good but not that damn good

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The question isn’t who will be #1, the question is who will be 2,3,4,5,6. 1 is the only spot we know

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @Andrew Woods – As I’ve stated MANY times on here, LeBron is the best player in the L, but he didn’t deserve the MVP over Rose last year.
    All this talk about how Bron p*ssed off the media and that’s why he didn’t get the MVP needs to be deaded.
    Hard to argue Bron deserved it over Rose when the Heat didn’t beat the Bulls in the regular season (yes, Heat fans, they smoked us in the playoffs, blah blah blah, we talking regular season MVP tho).
    And check Miami’s record against elite teams compared to Chicago’s.
    Add to that the fact that Chicago had the best overall record.
    Best player on the best team that absolutely ANNIHILATED the elite teams after the new year (go back and check).
    Rose deserved it.
    Yada – But Wade is still better than Rose NOW, irregardless of whether Rose took his team to the ECF by himself (which I disagree with) or not. Wade was better last year and put up better stats and I think that will be the case next season as well.
    After that, though?
    Rose > Wade in 2013.

  • Shem

    I would take Dwight over Dirk, just look at his team. But ROSE OVER DIRK. You’ve gotta be joking SLAM.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Rose over Dirk?! wtf?!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    How can you say Dirk’s performance in the post-season was not legendary? Because he grabbed 2 less rebounds a game than Larry Bird and didn’t get as many assists?
    Since when is Larry Bird, one of the ten best players in NBA history, the minimum for “legendary”? Is no other NBA great a “legend” because they aren’t as good as Larry Bird?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    OK, that’s it.
    Why the f*ck is it so hard to imagine putting Rose above Dirk?
    Dirk’s stats declined across the board last season and I’d expect the same to happen next season as well.
    But dude wins a title and suddenly everyone wants to anoint him the new king of the NBA?
    Meanwhile, Rose will improve next season from last.
    No, chances are he won’t win MVP again but he’ll be a better player.
    Last year almost everyone was upset about Dirk being ranked number 9, saying he should be top 5, and he probably should’ve.
    This next year, he should be just outside of the top 5, and he is.
    And if DarkSaber sees this, sorry, fam, don’t mean to sling so much sh*t about your boy, but I feel the need to defend mine.
    Can we still be friends?
    Lol

  • http://nicekicks.com Meloman2.0

    Dirk has a ring… so I see why he’s ranked over melo. As for Durant, i really don’t see what makes him better. Their offensive games are pretty much equal, Melo is more clutch. They both don’t play much defense (although we’ve seen Melo play pretty good defense in important moments ie. when denver played La in the playoffs) so really.. what makes durant better? is he more experienced? no. Better offensive player? no. Better defensive player? No?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    And I just realized I sounded pretty angry up there.
    Nah, it’s really not that serious.
    If Dirk were ranked higher than Rose I wouldn’t be tripping at all.
    But some of y’all making Rose’s name taste like a** when you speak it, like he’s Kwame Brown or something.
    “Kwame Brown over Dirk!?!?!”

  • MUBWAR

    slam is on something this year.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Rose deserved the MVP last season (team won more games than MIA/Orl/SA/Bos/LA). I could also see why Slam has Rose/Durant above Dirk based on their youth and potential to put up better numbers than last season.
    Teddy, I was just using Bird as an example because everyone likes to compare (foolishly) both guys. Who would you rather me compare Dirk’s #s to? Wilt, MJ, Magic, Hakeem?
    Enigmatic, still trying to do that online association on 2k?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I’d like to JTaylor, but I was hoping to get 30 SLAM commenters on board.
    If it’s just me and you it’d get kinda boring, and since you play on HOF I’d likely get my a** beat all the time, ha ha

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    What Dirk did is legendary. The first title by a team with a European star player, the comebacks, 1 man runs, and 22-22 from the line are all things I’ll use to talk about Dirk’s legend. He may not be AS legendary as Bird, but a legend none-the-less (now that he led a team to a title to go with all of his other notable accomplishments).

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Yo speaking of the difficulty on 2k, y’all notice the higher the difficulty the more the comp just stands around waiting for mistakes rather then moving? I read on operationsports that the most realistic game is on pro difficulty with default play style…..

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Alls I know is it gets old really quick trying to make a simple 5-foot pass that gets intercepted all the time, like Derrick Rose or Chris Paul are incapable of passing over a defender’s head.
    Or having like, Joakim Noah’s shot blocked by Jose Calderon.
    Come on, now.
    I love 2K but they made every defender a defensive juggernaut this year, seems like.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Jose Calderon to Joakim Noah: “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!? I’M THE JUGGERNAUT, B*TCH!!:

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Or how every layup I take in the paint rolls out but the CPU makes everything in the paint (PGs included) or how every one on the block possess Hakeem’s post game (pump-fakes, reverse pivots, up and under) or how my teammates help out in the paint for no reason, leaving guys on the perimeter wide open. I love 2K but they went too far trying to improve low post defense that perimeter defense suffered.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh yeah, man I HATE when I’m guarding the dude with the ball, and I’m doing a good job of Ding him up, but then here comes Mr. Overhelper to double team dude, leaving a 40% 3pt shooter wide open…swish…

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Lol, at least Meloman2.0 doesn’t hide his bias but that is some strong koolaid you’re sipping on.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Yo, JTaylor, and Enigmatic, I’m on board with the 2k thing.. I am bored with MyPlayer now. Dirk had a great series, and congrats for the Dallas Mavs, but no way will they repeat again. What’s with all the hate for Rose?? dayyum !

  • http://slamonline.com Andrew woods

    @enigmatic I agree that lebron shouldnt of won the MVP, but I also think some of droses MVP hype has to be attributed to the general negative feedback aimed at Lebron and his decision. It almost seemed like the League had a, “crown anybody but him” mentality towards LEBRON. I feel drose’s personality it the polar opposite to Lebrons and therefore a lot of ppl gravitated towards him. Also im not taking anything away from rose as a player. I just think the amount of hype last season has to do with his performance and Lebrons lynching.

  • http://fivemag.de Speedy

    What is a legend?
    I know what Dirk Nowitzki is.
    He is a very good ballplayer with one of the best jumpshots and a great scoring ability. He is an average defender. He is a teamplayer and a leader.
    He could have given up after MIA and Golden State, but he always kept that hunger, to be the World Champion, alive. And after he got another chance to play in the Finals, he finally beat his demons (not clutch, soft, blahblah).
    No one can take that from you Dirk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I need 2K12 so bad, when I get a job, I think that’ll probably be what I spend my first paycheck on

  • MUBWAR

    Last season actual MVP’s
    1. Howard
    2. James
    3. Wade
    4. Rose

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I dont agree with this ranking, I knew it was coming though. I actually had him seventh on the but slam didnt let the comment go through. You ave to pay homage to the fact he took over the playoffs and actually won something unlike CP3. Rose should be at this spot(7).
    rest of the rankings:
    1.LBJ
    2.Durant
    3.Dwight
    4.Wade
    5.ROSE
    6.kobe
    these ranking are not my opinion, they are just who I feel slam will have at these given spots.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @Andrew Woods – I disagree, but I respect your argument.
    Give it up, MUBWAR.
    You’re starting to come off as the biggest Rose hater ever.

  • Z-Bound

    These rankings should be about where players are at right now. Enough of this projected nonsense. Right now, I would take Dirk as the best player in the league. You cannot guard him anymore. He is solid on D and creates so much offense for others, even if he doesn’t get the actual assist. Lebron is the fantasy number one, but much like KG is probably best suited to being some kind of out of this world second option.

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Wow Durant is in front of Dirk

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    BTW, MUBWAR, your three top choices for MVP last year went 1-5 against Rose’s Bulls last season.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Thanks @nbk!

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    MUMBWAR hates Rose as much as bull22 hates the Heat….ok maybe that’s a little too far

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Your welcome, you owe my cat breakfast. Haha

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Hey, maybe MUBWAR IS bull22?
    Ha ha….nah…

  • MUBWAR

    how did that turn out 4 him in the playoffs enigmatic. The only reason that team got to the ECF is because of ind(a sub 500 team) and the hawks(known 4 exiting the playoffs within the 1st 2 rounds). let’s see how long it takes them to go back there or further…

  • MUBWAR

    i can’t believe i’ve just been compared to that nutj0b bull22. time to turn on 2k12 and leave it there

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Dude, all the Bulls need is a shooting guard of Ben Gordon/Jamal Crawford type guy at the 2 to help in scoring(and do his share at the defensive end)and they just might be as much of a Finals threat as Miami

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    @nbk Cat Chow? Ha!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    MUBWAR – Sigh.
    The playoffs are IRRELEVANT.
    MVP is a REGULAR SEASON award, bright one.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Just feed the cat the dog food.
    Payback, Kobe!

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Gazelle but that’ll work lol

  • lukas

    you must be kiddin’ – dirk killed everybody thats going to come out in front of him, except for howard and rose (who both messed up in the playoffs) and had arguably the worst supporting cast of all top 6 players (again except for howard and maybe rose. dirk is top 5 for sure!

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    He obviously had a pretty good supporting cast. They won a title

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    The worst supporting cast??
    Wow.

  • Soldberg

    How can LeBron and wade be placed higher than Dirk? Wades second and third bananas were LeBron and cbosh. Dirk’s were Jason terry and Jason Kidd. That was maybe the moat memorable individual playoff run ever, or at least can be argued. Starting with that 18 point fourth quarter in game 1 against Portland. What dirk just did was very special.
    Plus, if we remember back, dirk and the Mavs were on target for a massive season before he and Caron butler went down around new years. Up until then you could make a legitimate case for dirk as MVP.

    I had a detailed argument with the slam writer who wrote dirks article in, I think, 2007. I was so annoyed by his low ranking because of all the typical bs American created stereotypes attached to dirk’s game. We ended up concluding that the next few years would dictate how dirk’s legacy would like, yet I still think he isn’t be properly recognized. That playoff run and all-NBA season he just produced was as magical as any run in the past 15 years and so refreshing and unique, in that the Mavs accomplished something very special for what they were

  • http://nicekicks.com Meloman2.0

    No but really…what does durant do better than melo

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    For my explanation you can go to the Melo page.

  • boston32

    Would Mark Cuban trade Dirk for Rose right now? Considering their age, and contracts as big factors he would make that trade in a heartbeat so let’s stop acting like Rose is a scrub and doesn’t belong with these guys. Stay tuned Rose’s evolution will be televised….

  • lukas

    how many mavs players besides nowitzki are top 50 material? i think i’m not too far off with the worst supporting cast thing. okayokay – considering the past playoffs i’m way off but i really think dirk has to get the edge over at least drose and durant, maybe kobe (nobody can tell how much his injuries will affect him in the next season, dirk might be a little more durable)

    damn, those playoffs were crazy, dirk was insane and he’s still underrated – give dirk a little love. he’s an 85 or so in 2k12, thats ridiculous (pau gasol is an 86)

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Even though the Mavs won the chip vs MIA, Wade and Bron are still better players than Dirk. Better defenders, better rebounders (for their position), better passers and slightly better scorers. Dirk’s the better shooter from mid, 3pt and FT line. A great two-way player will always be better than a player that dominates one side of the court ( which is why DHow is also better).

  • lukas

    so it would be dirk at 4 or do you have kobe, durant and rose on 4,5,6?

  • MUBWAR

    jtaylor made some sense. weird

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    @meloman Well, Durant actually tries to play D. Last time I checked, Melo’s D is terrible

  • http://www.danchamb.com.br Lz – Cphfinest3

    I don’t know about projected 11/12 play, SLAM should really cut that bs and just do a best player list. On that list Dirk should be ranked number 1 until proven that he has lost a step and/or somebody is clearly playing at a higher level. All Dirk did this past playoffs was totally outplay James, Wade, Durant (who will all be ranked ahead of him) and Westbrook, Bosh, Aldridge, Gasol who where all pretty high on this list. Clutch matter and Dirk is easily the most clutch player in the world right now. Easily.

  • AirIndonesia

    how much does 2k12 cost in america? coz it seems expensive there. 2k12 only cost like 2 bucks in my country. rose over dirk okay. but durant over dirk? btw i think rose deserved his mvp, but mvp sometimes are subjective (how the hell blake ended 3rd?) and lebron got hurt by that. when does slam makes a list of 50 best players all time. i wanna see kobe’s position now. For me its MJ, Kobe, Magic, Bird, Kareem, Russel, Shaq, Duncan, Wilt, Oscar, Hakeem in the top 10.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    SO clutch…

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    My fav Dirk moments of these last playoffs were not even the clutch layups, shots, freethrows, utter focus (when he stood there during a timeout, glazed look on his face and the entire team slapping him around after yet another clutch series of shots against Miami, i.lost.it) and bolt to the lockeroom after reaching the top of Mt. NBA.
    It was getting to see one of the most ridiculed players of the last decade OWN defenders from nearly everywhere on the court. When he posted up Serge and spun on him towards the baseline for the dunk (something i had not seen him try in years) i just knew this was gonna be a special run by the Mavs.
    Eff a performance projection: Dirk is Top 5…. Easily.

  • http://nba.com Mackdaddy

    next has to be Durant(cant be ahead of Rose, the MVP means too much and so does 62 wins, Durant might be bit better still though, evidenced by USA team last summer), Rose (still not quite on Kobe level but it’s debatable, Kobe could seriously decline this year…I’ll believe it when I see it) Kobe (has new knees that aren’t legal in U.S.A., probably adds something else to his game..I cant even imagine what) Wade (I think he’s the most pissed off player on Miami, and most competetive, smart money is on him going HAM this season) Dwight (most dominant big man, always means trouble, best defensive player, was runner up MVP, if someone from the future told me he’d win 4 straight MVPS I’d believe it) Lebron (choked hard last season, never really was clutch when it counted besides Boston series, but the media LOVES the tastes of his peaches so I’m just bein realistic. Dude doesnt deserve this spot. Sorry)

  • Joblo

    People that hate on Rose are blind to the truth and are in denial because yes, the dude is that good. I’m sorry but if Keith Bogans is your starting 2 gaurd you shouldn’t have the best record in the nba.

  • lewis hughes

    no legitimate all star quality team mate? who is jason kidd?

  • Drig

    I believe Durant is better than Rose at this point as an overall player so I’m gonna go with rose next, durant 5, Kobe 4 (HAM warning), Wade ( Explosion imminent), Dwight and LBJ……Although I wish Dwight would be placed No.1……………

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Dirddk!

    I’d get on that 2k thing but i’m still playing on last years and don’t see a need for the new one yet.

    6. Rose
    5. Durant
    4. Howard
    3. Wade
    2. Bean
    1. King

  • whooo!

    Spurs fan through and through, and while i always liked Dirk, it was easy to pick on his weaknesses before. but last year’s postseason, dude was the BEST player in the nba, bar noen. he outperformed every other superstar. he outperformed kobe, durant, wade, and lebron; meanwhile the defenders he torched included Aldridge/Camby/Batum/Artest/Odom/Gasol/Bynum/Sefolosha/Ibaka/Lebron/Haslem/Bosh. there’s been great team efforts to win rings, but this was like Duncan ’03 championship — playing on another level than anyone else and completely dominating.

  • Louis

    Dirk is gonna be better than Rose or Kobe this year in my opinion. Kobe seems to have lost a step, and is most likely going to have a reduced role in the new Lakers offense. Dirk may not average more points than KB this year, but he will probably be the all-around better player. And people NEED to hop off the Rose bandwagon, he deserved the MVP last season but still needs another year of improvement to be top 5 material. I’d have Dirk at number 5 probably, with KD at 4 (predicting a monster year from him, if the season ever starts)

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    Dirk had some legendary performances in the 2011 playoffs (I won’t forget ever the Fever Game against Miami). That said, I agree with Dirk’s ranking. Those of you claiming he’s better than every other player because he ended the season with a ring and as his team’s lone All-Star are being silly. You know what separates the ’03 Duncan and ’94 Hakeem from ’11 Dirk? The fact that you had to account for #21 and #34 on both ends of the court.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    Real men dont have cats. smh

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Real men have women who may or may not have cats. But keep sprinkling the world with ignorance baby girl

  • maxillious

    at JTaylor: Just scoring wise,Dirk is better than Lebron and Wade.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    shut up punk, with your cat and hello kitty necklace, lol.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    What a waste of time that comeback was to read.

  • Travis

    Long as kobe #1 that’s what’s up.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    And you’re just a waste.

  • DJ MBENGA

    1. bron
    2. dwight
    3. durant
    4. wade
    5. rose
    6. kobe

    thats who i think slam will have

  • JoeMaMa

    People are being hush hush about Dwight. The man who likely should’ve been the MVP last year, all due respect to Rose. A 26 year old center whose game has improved every year. His defense is undoubtedly the best in the league, and his offense is getting better all the time. If he keeps improving, he’s a 30/15 guy. Oh, and for those crying about his team’s Wins, he put up with 2 massive, in-season trades. And in a guard oriented league, he gets the ball less. Anywho, don’t sleep on Dwight.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Real men totally own cats. Cats are the sh!t.

    co-sign Darksaber@11:59…I especially liked Dirk’s indifference to winning WCF…he honestly didn’t care…he wanted the whole f@ckin thing.

  • flash

    (on my opinion) it should be:
    1. kobe
    2. dirk
    3. wade
    4. lebron
    5. howard
    6. rose
    7. durant
    1st on the list is the toughest competition and the least i want to battle with.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    co-sign AlbertBarr about cats.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER

    COSIGN WHOOO!. IT WAS EASY TO PICK ON DIRK AND STEVE, NOT FINLEY, HE WAS ALWAYS MY DUDE, NICK V E TOO. I ENJOYED WATCHING DIRKS PLAYOFF PERFORMANCE, IT WAS INDEED LEGENDARY. HE HAD A REALLY GOOD TEAM, BUT HE WAS TRULY THE MAN. HIS FOCUS WAS LASER LIKE, NO ONE COULD STOP HIM.

  • http://hatandsunglasses.tumblr.com rinehart

    I have a lot of qualms with slam’s list this year. Dwight and cp3 are too low, westbrook is waaaay too high, and dirk anything lower than top 5 is an insult. If anyone other than lebron is higher than kd I’m gonna disregard the whole lost this year.

  • http://hatandsunglasses.tumblr.com rinehart

    I have a lot of qualms with slam’s list this year. Dwight and cp3 are too low, westbrook is waaaay too high, and dirk anything lower than top 5 is an insult. If anyone other than lebron is higher than kd I’m gonna disregard the whole list this year.

  • http://www.twitter.com/kevinchung Kevin

    you could make a case that Dirk should be a tad higher, but 7 is about right anyhow. anyways, great piece – makes up for the garbage i just read for #6

  • http://hermievalencia@yahoo.com princessvalencia

    why’s dirk always controversial when it comes to raking? i’m sure he doesn’t care if you rank him higher or lower than those guys he’s beaten the whole time this year? So okey, they’re all good players on court, but off court? the german moses is unmatched. wanna bet? and tell me, who’s still very much in the news now that this lock out thing is inevitable? who’s into baseball, soccer, tennis, pingpong, now that basketball is out? we hardly miss dirk….

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Good stuff, Maurice!

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    great read, maurice. thanks!

  • https://plus.google.com/photos/106403650426394352312/albums/posts davidR

    soup sandwich. mmmmmmmmmmm.

  • argonaut

    @MUBWAR your argument that howard was the mvp last year is a little off, if only because you devauled rose and the bulls going to the ecf by beating the hawks, saying the hawks themselves are weak opponents who consistently fail. But they beat howard and the magic in the first round!

    I don’t care for rehashing the mvp stuff at all, but that was too good to pass up.

  • Jono

    Based on next seasons projections, this guy is about a 6-7 ranked player so it’s about right. At this stage in his career, Dirk shouldn’t even give a dam about projections and stats. It’s all about the play-offs!

  • Rainman

    Should be top 5 to me.

  • albert

    Last year we were saying the same things about nowitzki, he isnt able to lead a team to championship, he isnt a player who can beat superstars like Wade, Lebron, Kobe in postseason, he’s old, he’s ugly, he’s blonde, blah blah blah, and everybody saw what he did in the last finals. That performance in last playoffs should be a lesson to everything who doubts of nowitzki, I mean, his career doesn’t follow any kind of logic, you know, he’s 33 and at peak of his technical form… a top 3 performance (again) in the next season wont be a surprise as many people thinks. Sorry for my bad english.

  • http://slamonline 3kings

    hes a great player and proved it this post season. as a big heat fan i hated watching them lose, but was happy for dirk. his one legged fadaway is almost as unblockable as kareems skyhook

  • Mwam

    Just FYI, Dirk at #7 beat #1, #2, #3, and #5 in the playoffs. Logical?

  • Hex

    So, now we know the SLAM formula of ranking players: you drop two spots if you are white and you drop four more spots if you are from Europe. Well, I guess winning the title and being clutch when the stakes are highest became instantly totally overrated when a goofy, white, foreign guy did it. And you cannot name even ONE player from your top six that had worse teammates than Dirk.

  • shied

    amazing, nice .. dirk is the champ and forever will be!

  • TR

    In this economy, it’s a shame that someone putting Dirk as low as 7, when he’s clearly better than Rose, Kobe, and Durant, has a job.

  • Dustin

    So now Dirk’s career is being judged by people who never really paid much attention to Dirk throughout his career. Dirk is and has been a beast for a decade now. It is hardly his fault that you just started paying attention. Dirk is the best player in the NBA.

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