The Secret Behind Dirk Nowitzki’s Postseason Dominance: No Dog Whistles.

I’ve said it before and I’ll gloat by saying it again: Dirk Nowitzki is officially the best player remaining in the NBA playoffs. Maybe he’s not the best over the course of this season or his career, but in a snapshot of who is left and what they are bringing every night, Dirk is a level or two above anyone else right now.

If you don’t believe me, ask anyone on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Or just anyone who watched last night’s game, or really just any Mavs game this postseason.

Last night, he almost single-handedly brought the Mavs back from a 15-point deficit with five minutes to go. He finished with 40 points on only 20 shots, a model of efficiency paled only by his Game 1 performance of 48 points on 12-15 shooting. He’s just amazing right now.

But what makes him so good? That’s an excellent question. To answer it, let me submit the following pair of photographs, taken roughly 20 years apart. Let me emphasize that neither of these photos have been altered or enhanced in any way.

Left: Dirk Nowitzki during the 2011 NBA Playoffs, Right: A young Dirk Nowitzki during his high school playoffs

I know you’ve seen Teen Wolf. It’s one of the finest basketball movies ever made. but let me ask you this: What happened to the wolf after high school?

Let me also answer that question: He turned into an adult, just like the rest of us.

I know you don’t just expect a player of that caliber to just finish his high school glory days and settle into a comfortable life as a hardware store clerk. That type of ability is at least good enough for D-1 ball, and might have actually been good enough to play in the Association right out of high school. I’m not about to say that I know exactly what happened right after the teen wolf after his days with the Beavers, but I will say that I know exactly where he is now — wearing 41 for the Dallas Mavericks.

Dirk is hairy, just like a wolf. Dirk scores a lot of point, just like the wolf. Compare the eyes and teeth in that picture, it’s uncanny. Sure, his game doesn’t feature the same slashing style or the thunderous dunks, but is that really something that a half-human/half-animal body could sustain? Like a lot of the game’s greats, as the wolf aged, his game slowed down and he became more of a savvy jump-shooter.

Actually, with the strict microscope that examines American collegiate players, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider a wan-wolf combination taking his game overseas to a place with less strict regulations. A place like Germany.

Was it risky for Teen Wolf to leave Boof and his family to play overseas? Maybe. But Adult Wolf Nowitzki has made quite an impact on the game of basketball as we see it today, and his ability to take over a game, particularly in the final minutes, remains unrivaled.

Again, I don’t have all the pieces to this puzzle, but beginning and ending seem pretty well-documented. The middle is a little bit fuzzier, but take a little time for some introspection and ask yourself what you really know about Dirk before he played in the NBA. Exactly.

On a side note, I hope you have all enjoyed SpreeGoogs lately, I’ve been trying to focus on what makes my blog fun and unique rather than just dipping into pure sports commentary/analysis. I hope you’ve enjoyed my more nostalgic content, because I love writing it.

Also, as a way of celebrating the upcoming 5,000th visit to SpreeGoogs, I took some time a few days ago to reformat my categories and navigation to help you find past posts a bit easier. Hopefully you’ve noticed the new category-based navigation menu in the tool bar on the right, but if you haven’t, feel free to click around and find some of your old favorites.

As always, keep telling your friends, keep commenting, and start rating these posts.

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