When the NBA announced their All-NBA teams earlier today, a familiar face was missing from the crop of 15 players: Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, but according to the power forward himself, he deservingly wasn’t on the list.
DALLAS — For the second consecutive season, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was not named to the All-NBA team, but he took the result in stride.
“For me, I had a good bounce back year, but I agree [with the announcement],” Nowitzki told ESPN Dallas. “Obviously, I’m not in the cream of the crop anymore. I think that’s no surprise. I’ll still try to be efficient going forward.”
Forwards Kevin Durant and LeBron James (first team), Blake Griffin and Kevin Love (second team) and Paul George and LaMarcus Aldridge (third team) were honored by the league on Wednesday.
This was the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Nowitzki hasnt been named to an All-NBA team. In that 12 year time span, Dirk has landed on All-NBA first team four times (04-05, 05-06, 06-07, 08-09), All-NBA second time five times (01-02, 02-03, 07-08, 09-10, 10-11), and All-NBA third team three times (00-01, 03-04, 11-12). Nowitzki’s 12 All-NBA selection place him in rare air as only Shaquille O’Neal (14), Tim Duncan (14), Karl Malone (14), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15), and Kobe Bryant (15) have more All-NBA placements than the 2012 NBA Finals MVP.
Of all the forwards named to All-NBA this season, it’s hard to make a case that Nowitzki was better than all, but LaMarcus Aldridge, but the narrative that Aldridge was vastly better this year than he had been in his career along with team success is likely the reason why Aldridge was awarded the spot over Dirk.
Bouncing back from a down season that was filled with nagging injuries, Dirk Nowitzki bounced back in a way many didn’t think he couldn’t. In 80 games played, the 15 year veteran averaged 21.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting the lights out from the field. Nowitzki just missed the cut for a rare 50-40-90 season, shooting a field-goal percentage of .497, a three-point percentage of .398, and a free-throw percentage of .899.
Nowitzki is facing the typical slow down because of Father Time’s affect on NBA players, but if last season showed us anything, Dirk will be a force to reckon with next season and possibly several after.