‘Mavs Can Cope’ Claims Dirk Nowitzki…


by @pbsortswriter

DIRK NOWITZKI claims the new-look Dallas Mavericks will not be left behind in the new era of “small ball” NBA basketball.

Nowitzki reckons the banged-up Mavs are set for an explosive start to the season Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns.

But the 7′ power forward, who helped Dallas to the 2011 championship, insists they can cope.
With teams across the NBA going with smaller, quicker line-ups, an ageing and injury-hit Mavs line-up is in danger of being left behind.

But Nowitzki, who says he’ll be switching to center in crunch time after Dallas missed out on DeAndre Jordan this summer, insists they can compete.


He said: “This will be a little bit explosive! Phoenix is a very fast and athletic team. That means we have to play a game with hardly any mistakes.

“In my opinion we can achieve things with our team when we are all in a positive mood and the ball is running.

“I wish that we as a team were 100% fit but I think we won’t be. The players who play have to be ready for everything.

“Small ball has become more and more important but nowadays you have to be able to play both.

“Each team has to have one or two big guys who are able to rebound and block shots whenever it matters.

“But the trend is towards a smaller lineup – especially at the end of the game. Then almost all of the five players has to be able to penetrate and throw.

“The new game is way more open and faster, also in the fastbreak. That’s a new way of playing and it’s fun to watch.

“I will certainly play the five here this season but you definitely have to adjust to each opponent. As a top team you have to be able to perform both.

“The center position is really well filled over here but I guess not even coach Carlisle knows who is going to be starting.


“Salah Mejri, who we got from Real Madrid, has played well so far. He is going to be contending for sure.
“In my opinion, Zaza Pachulia is a true professional since he’s been part of the league for ten years. He plays extremely hard in both offense and defense.

“It’s always good to have a man like him in the team. Unfortunately, JaVale McGee isn’t in a good condition yet and hasn’t participated in training so far.

“Athletically McGee certainly has the biggest potential, he’s really big, jumps well and is really fast for his height but it remains to be seen what his shape is like when he’s healthy.

“If we need a little one, we still have Jeremy Evans, who came from Utah. He’s a bit skinny for the center position though, but there are only a few real big centers in the league.”

The jury is out on the Mavs after they lost Monta Ellis to the Indiana Pacers and missed out on Jordan, who opted to stay with the LA Clippers.

Health will be key. Wes Matthews is just back from the season-ending Achilles injury he suffered with the Portland Trail Blazers, while Chandler Parsons and Deron Williams are still on the comeback trail after knee injuries.

Wesley Matthews

Nowitzki said: “We had so many casualties during preseason, there were eight players who weren’t participating in training.

“Therefore it has been a bit tough for us over the last three weeks and I can’t really estimate the potential of the team.

“In my opinion, Raymond Felton has had the best preseason. He’s in a super good mood and also started in some games because Deron Williams is still injured.”

You can watch the 2015-16 NBA season live on BT Sport or via NBA LEAGUE PASS.

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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