Monday, May 30, 2011

The Evolution of Your Quiet Mavericks Leader, Dirk Nowitzki

Mavs break huddle at AAA in Miami
Dirk Nowitzki will never be mistaken for that in-your-face, rally the troops guy.  Yet, he has grown and embraced the role as the Dallas Mavericks leader this past season.

Case in point:
When the Mavericks took a 2-nothing lead over the Lakers, he warned his teammates not to get too excited.

"Dirk got on us when we won two games in LA," Deshawn Stevenson brought up after the Mavericks beat Oklahoma City to advance to the Finals.  "We got our leader and franchise player saying that and he doesn't have a smile on his face; it just makes you sit back and realize there's more work to do."  

JJ Barea added to the story during Monday's practice at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. 

"He said, 'It's only 2-nothing we gotta go home and still take this' I never seen him talk like that.  He didn't look right."

Barea added the last part jokingly but his point is well-taken.  Nowitzi hasn't been a player who is a "win one for the Gipper" guy.  But he has developed into a player who will speak to his teammates when he feels it is necessary

"He's been doing it this year a little bit more.  He's even talking this year," Barea said.  "His work ethic, the look in his eyes, his body language, everybody just wants to follow him." 

I still think the Mavericks are still more of leader-by-committee team with Jason Kidd and even Tyson Chandler stepping up to the plate.  But when your best player, in this case Dirk Nowitzki, is sending a message, it's important that his teammates listen.  And in the Mavericks case, they are.
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