Dirk Nowitzki appeared in his first game of the season for the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs, but the result was the same one Dallas has seen for much of the year. Nowitzki’s absence through the first 27 games of the season certainly made life more difficult for the 12-16 Mavs, but the 11-time All-Star said it is the absence of Jason Kidd that has really hurt the team.
“Our basketball IQ obviously went down a little bit with J-Kidd leaving,” Nowitzki said according to ESPNDallas.com. “I think that’s pretty obvious. We don’t make the right play on defense. I don’t think that’s selfishness. Maybe we don’t react quick enough or maybe it’s not natural enough to the guys yet, all the calls, the switching of coverages. You’ve got to pay attention; you’ve got to be smart out there. …
“Offensively, our decision-making has been brutal. We’re averaging 20 (turnovers) a night. It’s impossible to win, especially on the road.”
The Mavericks allowed a season-high 129 points to the Spurs on Sunday, meaning they were pretty much incapable of stopping everything and anything San Antonio threw their way. Dirk should certainly help alleviate some of the team’s struggles when he gets back into the swing of things, but losing a veteran point guard like Kidd is never easy. Dallas was hoping Derek Fisher would help fill the void left by the departure of Kidd, but that didn’t work out.
If the Mavericks are going to contend in the Western Conference this year, they’ll need someone to emerge as their new floor general.