Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 at 11:00 am  |  17 responses

SLAM #61

The Germanator…

Originally published in SLAM 61

The 6th Man: A quick glance at Dirk Nowitzki’s season statistics on NBA.com is terrifying. Top 10 in almost every big-time category: scoring,defensive rebounds, double-doubles, free-throw attempts. Tim Duncan numbers. Those alone would be worth the max. But look further. Top 15 in three-pointers made (and attempted)—good for nearly 40 percent. Drops 23.6 points a game for a loaded squad. Oh, and he’s a legit seven feet, 245. Mark Cuban’s got deep pockets, but if it wasn’t for the KG laws, he’d still have to take out a loan—and maybe dig the spare change out of his couch—to re-sign No. 41. If you created this guy on NBA Live, they’d disallow him.

Transcendent. There aren’t many players in the L who earn the label. Players for whom no equal trade value exists, not that anyone would seriously consider trading them. Shaq and Tim Duncan, definitely. Kobe, TMac, KG, AI. Paul Pierce is getting there. And Dirk. A 7-footer who shoots threes better than most two guards, finishes the break as good as any three, clears the boards as good as any four not named Ben Wallace, and is just getting started. Comparisons to Larry Bird are completely unjustified—Bird wasn’t half the athlete Dirk is.

The truly terrifying thing is that Dirk Nowitzki is 23 years old (he’ll be 24 in June), and is only in his fourth year of organized ball in the States. Which means he’s just getting comfortable (and learning how to play defense). The numbers that matter—points per game, rebounds per game, three-point percentage, field goal ercentage—have risen every year in the League. So have the Mavs’ wins. Dirk has led them there.

Still, the Mavs and Dirk wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are if it wasn’t for Don Nelson. It was he who believed in Dirk when no one else did (Tractor Traylor’s a funny guy and all, but that trade was one of the biggest steals of all time), he who plucked Steve Nash off Phoenix’s bench, he who pulled the trigger to bring in Nick Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz. For all Cuban does to make sure the Mavericks are comfortable off the court, it’s the much-maligned Nellie who has made sure they’re comfortable on it—which is why they’ve just had their second-straight 50-plus-win season, even with Shawn Bradley on the roster.

So for all of you out there wondering why this is Dirk’s first time on the cover, don’t worry. Just know that it won’t be his last.

A few other things worth mentioning: Thanks to a Stockton-eyed reader, we were reminded that Tony Parker averaged 9.1 points, not dimes, through late February (page 38, SLAM 60). Excusez-moi…congrats to Gary Williams, Juan Dixon and the Terps…oh, and one other thing—thanks for the jersey, Jalen.

You better stay in Chicago now.


Russ Bengtson

Issue 61 Nowitzki

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  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I remember this one. It was a couple of years before his skirt got pulled up.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    It would have been a better cover if he put his number on it… that way he could get some more crazy gf’s!!

  • larrylegend

    even i would be first, i want to wait till the first dirk jokes came up…you never let me down, guys.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    lol I think I like B longs better though!
    We should do a Mortal Kombat section for NBA players. Who is Baraka, Lu Kang, Jax!! That game was dope.

  • Mack

    lol @ Qyntel Woods ROY

  • ave. joe

    LOL yeah who the HELL is Qyntel Woods??

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Jax is Steven Jackson.

  • larrylegend

    mortal kombat is $hit…

  • Vin


  • http://dillanleuyahoo.com Holy Baller

    Lmfao @ Vin, that’s great.

  • chintao

    This article obviously was ghostwritten by Darksaber.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Kabal = Shelden Williams

  • zabba

    I can only think of one more Dirk cover after this, the one that came out right after Golden State knocked them off the first round.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Ahh Lenny Cooke..

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Woods came straight out of Community College and was a mid first rounder if I remember. Played with Portland for a year or two and then got released on, oh yeh, DOG fighting charges.
    He bounced around for a few years, and I THINK he may’ve played for the 06 Knicks team?
    Ended up in Europe I spose. Probably a backwash League though, ‘cos I think Id’ve heard of him if it was in the Euroleague or a power-city.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Chintao, why, whyyyyyyy…. I decide to bypass the comments section on this one (a wise decision as the above statements prove) and you drag me right back in. Shame on ya. PS: funny line, dude

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Wasn’t Quintel’s claim to fame the same as the one that sent Mike Vick to jail?