Turning Sour Grapes into Fine Wine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 27, 2009 under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

Dirk Nowitzki is a pretty good basketballer.  So good, in fact, that the second the numbers indicate he’s anything other than a pretty good basketballer, he’s covered head to toe in criticisms.  It’s not fair, it’s not unfair, it just is.

But before we thoroughly tar and feather our man Dirk, consider the following:

We’ve begged for this supporting cast.  The team is finally showing some competency and some backbone.  Josh Howard, the Mavs’ very own enigma, is producing in ways that would make 2006 Josh blush.  J.J. Barea, Brandon Bass, and Ryan Hollins have become significant, productive members of the rotation.  Jason Kidd isn’t perfect, but he changes games in ways that no other Maverick can.  All of these are reasons to be pleased with the Mavs, and yet the primary concern seems to be the numbers next to Dirk’s name in the box score.

It would be rad to watch Dirk pour in thirty a night.  Tubular, even.  But that aspect of the Mavs’ game is a given.  If the opposing defense puts all of its energy into stopping Dirk, there’s still a pretty solid chance that it won’t mean a damn thing.  Dirk’s midrange mastery may not strike fear into the hearts of men, but it’s obscenely efficient and extremely difficult to counter.  If there is anyone on the team that shouldn’t be worried about, it’s Dirk.

Dirk choosing not to force things isn’t a character flaw.  Exercising patience isn’t troubling.  By playing intelligently, Dirk has opened up lanes and shots for his teammates, and his impact should be impossible to ignore.  The team’s MVP is supposed to make those around him better, and though Dirk’s statistical dominance may have slowed, the rest of the Mavs are reaping all the benefits.  Judge if you must, but that type of sacrifice sounds like leadership to me.

  • wacc_attack

    along those very lines, i think something has to be said about Damp’s sudden hot streak at the FT line. in a game which essentially came down to 2 or so buckets at the very end, having your big boy center knock down 6 freebies is huge. i think he’s 9-11 for the series, as well. that’s just another strand of evidence for this newfound focus and collective sense of responsibility in the locker room we’ve been hearing about all playoffs. everyone is stepping up and doing their part; no more “let’s let JET/Dirk carry us home.” i love it.

  • Chaz

    Don’t forget that Dirk still hit his shot when he needed to near the end of the game. So sublime, he’s got to be one of the most underappreciated stars in the league.

  • http://dallassportsblogger.blogspot.com/ Dallas Sports Blogger

    I still think the Mavs have to use game 5 to get Dirk and Jet back on track. They are doing enough to beat a lousy Spurs team, but round 2 will be much more difficult. http://dallassportsblogger.blogspot.com/2009/04/mavericks-up-3-1-but.html