The Dallas Mavericks are off to an excellent stat this NBA season. After finishing 24-58 during the 2017-18 campaign, they’re already 15-11. Rookie guard/forward Luka Dončić is taking the league by storm. And, the Mavericks have won three in a row. But none of that may even qualify as the best part. After several months away recovering from April surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle, Dirk Nowitzki is ready to make his 2018 NBA debut.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says that’s coming tonight against the Phoenix Suns.
“He’s getting closer,” head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters Monday before another Dallas win.
And as it happens, this is the perfect opponent for Nowitzki to make his season debut against. After all, the Suns are an awful 4-24 to start the season. In fact, they’re currently the worst team in the league. Plus they’ve lost 10 in a row. Certainly with how these Mavericks are playing, we can expect that number to be at 11 after tonight.
But what should we expect from Nowitzki’s return?
“Rhythm will be tough,” he told reporters recently. “The last game I played was the end of March. Nobody just takes seven months, eight months off and comes out balling. It’s going to be a process for me playing against NBA players, [especially] the speed of the game these days…”
Last season Nowitzki put up just 12 points per game, adding 5.7 rebounds per contest as well. Though he did shoot just under 41 percent from three-point range, for what it’s worth. This is his 21st season in the NBA, all with the Mavericks. We don’t know how many more seasons Nowitzki has in him, but he’s returning during a suddenly promising time for Dallas basketball.
Meanwhile, the rookie Dončić is averaging 18 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals thus far. He’s also shooting just under 37 percent from long range. And, has an effective field goal rating of 50.3 percent.
Simply put, we cannot wait for him to share the court with Nowitzki.