By: Adam Pasternak
NBA Chatter is SportsNak’s weekly NBA feature, discussing the past week’s hottest topics in the association. Look for new editions every Sunday/Monday to get your basketball fix!
After a two week long hiatus, we’re back with this week’s edition of NBA Chatter! This week we will discuss Dirk Nowitzki passing Shaq for 6th on the all time scoring list, solidifying Dirk as the best international player to ever play the game, Kobe Bryant turning back the clock and dropping 31 points on the Denver Nuggets, and finally, why the Toronto Raptors backcourt duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry deserve to start in the All-Star game in February.
Dirk Nowitzki Passes Shaq for 6th Place on the All Time Scoring List:
In last night’s contest between the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets, history was made. Dirk Nowitzki made a jumper over Andrea Bargnani with 9:51 remaining in the second quarter. That jumper moved Dirk into sole possession of 6th place on the all time scoring list. His career is now that of an NBA legend. He’s got an MVP award, an NBA Championship and a Finals MVP – and his latest accomplishment solidified him as one the best to ever play the game. Coming over from Germany, due to the low success rate of international players, no one expected him to have anything close to the career he has had. Dirk opened an alley for international players and showed the NBA and its fans that an international player can be just as good, if not better, than an American born player. He’s become an international icon and idol to many. I’ll never forget when I first became a fan of Dirk. It was back in 2007, when Dirk won his MVP award. I was still young, and just starting to get into basketball. Being from Canada, I was actually hoping Steve Nash would win his second MVP in a row, but ultimately it went to Dirk. I had no idea who this Dirk Nowitzki guy was. He was German, had long blonde hair and a funky jump shot. I was furious. But then my cousin told me more about him, and we actually would play NBA Live 07 (debatably the best basketball video game ever made) and he would be Dirk and the Dallas Mavericks. Now as a little kid, whatever my older cousin did I had to do it too. Whatever show was his favourite, it was my favourite. So when I played NBA Live 07 with my friends, I had to be Dirk and the Mavs just like him. Dirk then instantly became one of my favourite players and he forever changed my view on international NBA players and the concept of stretch fours. He made it possible for guys like Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge to center their games around their jump shots. He has had a hall of fame career and a forever lasting imprint on the NBA, and it couldn’t be more deserving.
In honor of Dirk’s most recent accomplishment, here’s my favourite SNL skit with none other then…Dirk Nowitzki!
Kobe Turns Back the Clock and Drops 31 Against Denver:
On Tuesday night in Denver, Colorado we saw vintage Mamba for the first time in at least a year. He was making the tough turn-around jumpers, the contested three pointers – it was his night and nobody could stop him. It was the Kobe that we had all grown to know and love, and I could not be more happy to see him play so well in what has been a down season for the soon-to-be hall of famer. Kobe struggled mightily this season until this week and it was honestly hard to watch. But the game in Denver put a smile on my face. It was truly amazing to see him at this stage in his career, playing and competing like he was still in his twenties. He had been getting so much criticism early on this season about his terrible performances, that he actually came out and said that this would be his last season. In a way, by saying that, it made people not really care how bad he was playing. It changed people’s mindsets and allowed people to realize even though he might be playing awful, it’s the last time to see him play at all. It allowed people to let go of their high expectations, sit back and admire the greatness that is Kobe Bryant. His struggles this season have unfortunately overshadowed what has been a fantastic career, but his recent performance in Denver brought me back to the vintage Kobe days and I couldn’t help but feel happy for him. He will go down as one of the best to ever step foot on the hardwood.
Why Toronto’s Backcourt Duo Deserves to Start in the All-Star Game:
Kyle Lowry has been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, and that is a fact. He’s been in the top 3 all year for most three’s made in the NBA, he leads the league in steals per game and he averages over 6 assists per game while also averaging a solid 20 points per game. He’s slowly creeping into MVP contention, and actually sat as high as #7 on the MVP ladder on nba.com. I guarantee you he will be starting the All-Star game just like last year, but this time it will be different. He will be joined by his Raptors backcourt-mate DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan has been having a terrific season and is arguably a top 3 shooting guard this year. He gets to the foul line a ton, only trailing Houston’s James Harden in that category, and has improved his overall game. He’s averaging 22.7 points per game, 4.4 rebounds per game and 4.0 assists per game, all while shooting a respectable 45% from the field. With the game taking place in Toronto and the fact that the starters are voted in by the fans, there really is no excuse for these two players not to start. It would be amazing for Canada to have two out of the five starters be from the Raptors. For once, maybe the rest of the NBA would look at them in a different way. Maybe they will finally realize that the Raptors are for real and are not a team to be overlooked.
That wraps things up for this weeks NBA Chatter. Thanks for reading and be sure to comment your thoughts below and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!