After playing his 19th season with the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki has informed the team he will return for his 20th NBA season, according to Mavs.com. He will exercise his player option to opt into the final season of his two-year, $50 million contract.
Nowitzki joins just Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Kevin Willis, and Robert Parrish as the only players in NBA history to play 20 seasons. He and Bryant are the only players to spend two decades with one team.
There is also a chance he returns for his 21st season, a feat only Parrish and Willis have accomplished. – SB Nation
The Dallas Mavericks aren’t going to the playoffs after their 33-49 regular season, but they got some good news today as Dirk Nowitzki announced he’ll be returning next year for his 20th NBA season. Dirk will become only the second player in NBA history to play 20 seasons for the same team (Kobe Bryant) and if this season is any indication, Dirk can still perform. While his 14.2 points per game were the second lowest of his career, it was still good for second on the team. He also shot barely under 44% from the field and led the team in rebounds with 6.5 per game. Dirk is still an above average contributor, so hopefully the Mavs can make some offseason moves and make his 20th season count.
As of today, March 20th, the Boston Celtics are currently 2.5 games games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the #1 seed in the East (thanks, 76ers). Here are five reasons why I think the Celtics will eventually overtake the Cavs and win the East.
1. Remaining Schedule: With the regular season winding down, the Celtics find themselves in a tight race with the Cavs, Wizards and Raptors for the #1 Seed in the Eastern Conference. A Loveless Cavs team has stumbled against their recent opponent’s causing their #1 seed to become within an arm’s reach of the Celts and other teams. The Celtics currently have the #2 seed, but John Wall and Co. aren’t going to make it easy for them. Luckily the Celtics have an easy climb up the mountain with their remaining 13 Games. Out of those 13 games, 8 are against teams with a record below .500. The Celts also play 10 out of their remaining 15 games at home. Less travel could help conserve energy for the upcoming playoffs, and the Celts are 23-9 at home, compared to 21-17 on the road.
2. Full Speed Ahead: While injuries affect all teams, it is unfortunate that the Celtics haven’t been able to compete all year with a complete team. At the beginning of the year, Al Horford was concussed, followed by a groin injury to IT, and then Avery Bradley was on the shelf with a lengthy Achilles injury. After watching the recent game against Chicago, the full cast played like a dominant force. Defense, Offense, and Marcus Smart rebounding like a mad man showed this team’s full potential. A full roster also helps preserve IT’s body and playing time. He plays the most minutes on the team at 34.1 per game, and is clearly their most important as he leads the team in points and assists. If the Celts are going to have any success in the playoffs, they need Mr. 4th Quarter to be at full strength.
3. The Future Is In Brown’s Hands: I guess not accepting that invitation to the dunk contest really was the right choice, eh Mr. Brown?. Jaylen Brown has blossomed this season into an integral player for the Celts. The silver lining to all the Celtics injuries were that they gave Brown the opportunity to play more minutes and thus grow as a player. The past few months Coach Steven’s penciled Brown in the starting lineup, helping him transform into a major asset for the team. Brown released a statement advising that he bowed out of the Dunk Contest in order to work on his shot mechanics and help improve his standing with the team, and it’s paid off. While he’s struggled over the last three games, he averaged 10.5 points over the previous 10 games, including some key 3’s with the game on the line for the Celts. With Bradley back, Brown’s roll has shifted to a bench player, which is never a bad thing, as it allows Coach Stevens to have an emerging scoring threat on his second unit.
4. Catch Smart If You Can: I’ll admit it; I wasn’t the biggest Marcus Smart guy at first, but this season has really changed my outlook. If I had to pick any Robin to Isiah Thomas’s Batman, it would now be Marcus Smart. He brings toughness and a certain ‘grind and grit’ mentality to this team, and I don’t know where this team would rank in the standings without him. He’s another guy that stepped up tremendously when key players were hurt this season. Danny Ainge viewed him as untouchable at the trade deadline, and that trust is paying off. One of the season long flaws for the Celts has been their rebounding, where they currently rank 27th in the League. Although the numbers don’t show it, Smart has caused chaos under the rim for opponents by continually crashing the boards and making things happen.
5. In Steven’s We Trust: Why are teams successful? Besides spending millions of dollars to make super teams, there are other reasons for success. When I think of the Celtics, one term pops into my head: communication. Steven’s has always been a player’s coach dating back to his Butler days, and the Celtics currently have the 5th youngest franchise with an average age of 24.1. With their fiery play and ball movement, it’s easy to tell Brad seems to have a knack for bringing players together and producing a sensational product. The Celtics need to continue following his direction to finish the season strong and get out of the 1st round of the playoffs, a task they came up short on last season.
~Let’s Go Celtics! ~
Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen Had The Same Reaction As All Of Us During Steph Curry’s Record Breaking Overtime Performance
Even the owner of the Trail Blazers, Paul Allen, couldn’t believe Steph Curry. https://t.co/go89j64oCB
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 10, 2016
That right there is the face of someone who knows he’s about to be defeated and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Just an unreal performance last night from Steph Curry. Coming off the bench, and playing in his first game in two weeks, he scored 40 points, including 17 in overtime, which are the most points in NBA overtime history, regular season or playoffs. What else can you say about the guy? Earlier in the day he finds out he’s going to be the MVP again, and then he goes and does this. Add in the fact that Portland controlled most of this game and the Trail Blazers crowd is a brutal crowd to play in front of, and you have one of the best performances in NBA playoff history. The NBA might not be that fun to watch in general, but if Steph Curry is playing, I will continue to go out of my way to watch him.
Watch this creepy free throw distraction by the Houston Rockets https://t.co/NpzXGdV4z8
— Maganda Ako (@chinabyron) March 24, 2016
This is kind of odd. First of all, they’re the Houston Rockets. Is that green bear supposed to be a rocket? You’re a multi million dollar professional sports franchise. You can’t get somebody to dress up like a rocket? That’d be way more intimidating than a smiling bear wearing a basketball jersey. Maybe attach some actual fireworks to him to make everyone feel uneasy at all times. What I’m trying to say is that anything is better than a smiling bear. Now, onto the green man popping out of a trashcan. What the hell was that? I just have so many questions. Why is he painted green? Why does he have popcorn on his head? How long has he been in that trash can? There is literally no part of this that makes any sense, and the best part of this video is the Jazz player sinking the free throw. Hey Houston, if you want the opposing team to miss a free throw, have Dwight Howard give them some pre-game pointers.
Yooo. That rim was 12 feet high… https://t.co/fr2SBPXvTl
— Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) January 6, 2016
Dirk has never been known as the fastest guy, or the highest jumper. But what he does do well is score the basketball, which is why he’s 6th on the all time scoring list. It is nice to see when things don’t go his way, such as getting rejected by the rim at 7 feet tall, that he has a sense of humor about it. I hope he plays forever.
Steph Curry is from a different planet, but you already knew that. He scored 40 points (again) last night, but the best part of that entire game and maybe the entire season is at the 11 second mark in the above video. Steph’s teammate Andrew Bogut is in the low post and getting double teamed, so he kicks it out to an almost unbelievably open Steph, and the rest of the play is magical. Bogut begins running up the floor BEFORE Steph even shoots because he knows it’s going in, and Kemba Walker takes one step towards Steph but also knows the result, and just kind of sulks while the balls swooshes through the net. I really hope the Warriors breaks the Bulls single season wins record, and I hope Steph Curry plays until he’s 100 years old.
By Blaine K, Average Nobodies guest writer
The folks on ESPN’s Sportsnation program are no strangers to hyperbole, as dramatic assertions and over-the-top opinions are basically encouraged on the program. But when a recent segment included the question, “Are Stephen Curry and the Warriors even better this season?” it was hard not to take the topic seriously. As NBA fans are well aware, Curry won the league MVP en route to leading his team to a championship a season ago. The Warriors won 67 games and dominated the playoffs, and Stephen Curry – the 185 pound sharpshooter who was once so overlooked by big colleges that he wound up at Davidson – became the biggest story in basketball.
Even then, though, no one was questioning the status of LeBron James as the best basketball player on the planet. James has built a resume that is already almost unmatched in basketball history. He can basically play all five positions, and he’s capable of controlling a game like no one else can. Even in the finals against Curry’s Warriors, James was a major story, as he kept a Cavaliers team that was missing two all-stars (Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love) fighting, more or less by himself. In short, Curry was the MVP and a newly crowned champion, but James was still the king…. Right?
Well, suddenly I’m not so sure, and neither are the oddsmakers. Betfair’s sports betting section posted odds for the NBA MVP at the outset of this season, and despite lots of analysts picking players like Anthony Davis, James, and Kevin Durant for the honors, Stephen Curry had the best odds at 7/5. That’s actually pretty astounding. Curry broke shooting records in 2014-15, while Durant was hurt, Davis was still considered very young, and James was adjusting to a new team. Logically one would expect a lower output from Curry, and improvement from the others. And yet his performance was strong enough to make him a leading MVP candidate once again.
And so far this season, Curry hasn’t disappointed. In fact, he’s playing better than he ever has. Curry’s stats are simply out of this world, albeit in just a handful of games to start the season. He’s averaging over 35 points per game, shooting 57% from the field and 52% from three, and somehow he’s throwing in 5.8 assists per game. He continues to improve on defense (2.2 steals per game) and he’s already gotten the better of other great point guards like Ty Lawson, Mike Conley, and Chris Paul head-to-head. His Warriors are 5-0 as of November 6th, and show every sign of being a serious championship favorite yet again.
Meanwhile, the other MVP favorites have struggled in various ways. LeBron James is demonstrating a preference to rest himself a little bit given his insane mileage in recent seasons. Davis has been good, but appears to be feeling the pressure of having been anointed the next big thing in the league. Durant has been fairly spectacular, but will always have to share his statistics with Russell Westbrook. James Harden has played well but pales in comparison to Curry’s performance thus far.
And all of this just has to make you wonder: might Stephen Curry have sneakily usurped the position of world’s best basketball player? It still feels almost blasphemous to think of anyone but LeBron James taking that distinction, but we’ve gone a full calendar year now with Curry being the hardest player to guard and the biggest clutch force in the NBA. Perhaps it’s time to give the point guard his due.