Wake Up Call: Dirk is better with age

From Business Insider:

Dirk Nowitzki is having the best postseason of his career, averaging 28.4  points per game, while leading the Mavericks back to the NBA Finals. Nowitzki’s  newfound dominance can be traced back to a plan hatched by his coach before the  regular season even started.

This year, Nowitzki averaged just 34.3 minutes per game. That was down over  three minutes from 2008-09 (37.7 min/g) and 2009-10 (37.5 min/g), and was his  lowest amount of playing time since his rookie year (20.4 min/g).

The fewer minutes led to Nowitzki’s lowest scoring output (23.0 ppg) in seven  years. But the benefit appears to be a Dirk with fresher legs in the NBA’s  second-season. So far, Nowitzki’s playing time in the playoffs is up to 38.9  minutes per game, which is in line with previous postseasons. Last year he  averaged 38.8 minutes and in 2008-09 he average 39.4 minutes. And despite nearly  identical playing time, his scoring is up 2.0 points per game over the last  three years, when he averaged 26.7-26.8 points.

In his older age, the fresher legs have made Nowitzki a better shooter. His  effective field goal percentage (eFG%; which weighs shots based on their point  value, a 3-pt shot is worth more than 2-pt shot) was at a career-high this  season (.545) and has continued at nearly the same rate into the postseason.

All data via Basketball-Reference.com

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Have a great weekend, thanks for reading the blog. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

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