Dirk Nowitzki, finally in shape (unlike 2011) and healthy (unlike 2012), is shooting a blistering 53 percent from the floor in the preseason. He’s made a good enough 6-16 from long range, and has missed just one free throw in 14 tries. The Mavs have won more exhibition games than they’ve lost (4-3), and Nowitzki seems ready for the six or potentially seven-month haul that’s ahead of him. With just one preseason game against the Indiana Pacers left before that 82-game slog, you’d think Dirk would be ready to take in his last bit of rest and relaxation before the grind hits.
Nein. On Thursday, the basketball mentor that Dirk has been studying under for two decades is flying into Dallas to give Dirk’s game the once over. And Dirk is welcoming longtime personal coach Holger Geschwindner with open arms.
“I feel good (physically), ready,” Nowitzki said. “Didn’t have my shooting touch much today. Fortunately, Holger is coming tomorrow. Unfortunately, that means there’s going to be some late nights in here.”
So how long will Geschwindner stay?
“Unfortunately, probably a little over two weeks,” Nowitzki said. “But he might give me a night off here and there. I might be too old to go back to the gym EVERY night. But we’ll find a good rhythm.”
You may recall Holger as the man who suggests fingertip push-ups as the best and easiest way to develop a successful three-point stroke. The man who researched and concluded upon the optimum degree of a jump shot (60 degrees, duh), and the guy who first won Dirk’s heart as a teenager by basically playing “wheelbarrow” with him (grabbing Dirk’s legs as Nowitzki used his arms to crawl around the gym, increasing his upper body strength) while encouraging Nowitzki to learn to play the saxophone, to play just what he feels, to get used to the idea of improvising within a team construct.
So, yeah, that’ll be what Dirk is up to in the wee hours over the next few days. Forget the newborn baby at home, Nowitzki will be prepping for the 2013-14 season by trading fours with his horn, doing tiny pushups, and dragging Holger Geschwindner around the gym.
Just like old times. Welcome back, old Dirk.
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