Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty ImagesDirk Nowitzki’s numbers were solid last season, but not good enough for him to be named All-NBA.
“For me, I had a good bounce back year, but I agree [with the announcement],” Nowitzki told ESPN Dallas. “Obviously, I’m not in the cream of the crop anymore. I think that’s no surprise. I’ll still try to be efficient going forward.”
The 2012-13 season marked the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Nowitzki was not named to an All-NBA Team. That was largely in part due to him missing the first 27 games of the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He did bounce back from that injury-plagued campaign by averaging 21.7 points per game this season. He flirted with the rare 50-40-90 season as he shot 49.7 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from three-point range and 89.9 percent from the free throw line. Comparing to his previous seasons, Nowitzki had either the second- or third-best season of his entire career.
Nowitzki has earned All-NBA first team honors four times (from the 2004-05 season through the 2006-07 season and during the 2008-09 season). In addition, he’s been named to the All-NBA second team and third team a total of eight times.
In the West, Nowitzki joins New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as the lone players who were named to the All-Star team but didn’t earn All-NBA honors. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook also was not named to an All-NBA team.
Accomplishments such as these are secondary for Nowitzki as he’s focused on bigger aspirations, such as winning another championship. That said, he does recognize that — despite the lack of recognition over the last two seasons — he has seen his efficiency on offense return.
“I think after the year with the surgery, I wasn’t even quite sure what level I could still get to,” Nowitzki said. “I was pleased with the year I had this year, especially playing as many games as I did. That’s really all that matters now, being there for my team, trying to play at a high level. I wasn’t sure if I could score over 20 a night anymore after last season.”
This season’s supporting cast took the pressure off Nowitzki, allowing him to be more efficient with the ball. With Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon in the mix, the need to force feed him the ball wasn’t as necessary. Instead, he worked to spread the floor for his teammates by presenting the threat of his ability to shoot. Though it was a disappointing finish for him in the series against the Spurs, he responded well this season.
Nowitzki is already working on getting ready for next season. He revealed that he’s already begun his offseason workout schedule after a vacation three weeks ago. The schedule currently consists of cardio and building up his leg strength. The workouts go on at least two or three times a week and continue to ramp up as the weeks go by. Nowitzki mentioned that he will continue these types of workouts for a while, meaning he won’t resume on-court activity or touch a basketball until late July or early August.