Dirk Nowitzki is the best international player in the NBA. Don’t ask me. Ask a GM.
That’s exactly what NBA.com did, and more than half the respondents named the Mavericks star No. 1. It’s not exactly a shock; Nowitzki has been named best international player in the NBA every season except for one since 2004. Dirk reclaimed the title from Tony Parker, who was named best born outside the States after an impressive 2013 Finals performance in a loss to the Miami Heat. Nowitzki finished third last season behind Parker and Marc Gasol, as he was coming off a knee injury that cost him a third of the 2012-13 campaign. Parker finished a distant second to Nowitzki this season, with the German capturing 53.6 percent of the votes and the French point guard just 28.6 percent.
Nowitzki’s ascension back atop the list should not surprise. Last season was perhaps his most efficient last season, and it led Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry to name him the best shooter in the NBA. He scored 21.7 points per game in the 2013-14 season, leading the best offense in the NBA after the All-Star break to 49 wins and a near-upset of Parker’s Spurs in the first round of the playoffs. Nowitzki narrowly missed out on his second 50/40/90 season, coming about as close as one can — he hit 49.7 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from three-point range, and 89.9 percent from the free throw line. Oh, and he was 35 last season.