Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle appeared on The Afternoon Show on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio yesterday to talk Mavs and more.
Listen to the full audio segment below.
One topic discussed was Dirk Nowitzki’s self-declared status as a free agent-to-be this summer, as he said earlier this month he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract but ultimately he plans to sign back with the Mavericks. Carlisle made it a point after the Mavs’ season-ending Game 5 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder to say the club can’t take his commitment to the organization for granted and must do whatever it takes to field a roster capable of competing for a championship in Nowitzki’s twilight years. The coach went so far as to say he was ready to jump on a plane to Germany right then and there to begin the recruiting process.
He echoed a similar sentiment on yesterday’s show.
“In deference to him and what he’s done, and the fact that he’s still playing at a ridiculously high level for a guy that’s 37, gonna be 38 here shortly, we’ve got to take every measure to make sure that he understands how much he means to all of us,” Carlisle said.
Nowitzki, who this season climbed to No. 6 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, is widely considered an all-time, generational talent. ESPN named him the third-best power forward in NBA history and he’s one of just five players ever to score 40 points in a game after his 37th birthday. His combination of efficiency, proficiency, and longevity has been matched by just a few names in the history of the sport.
But where exactly does he rank among the best of the best? Hosts Matt Mosley and Chuck Cooperstein — as well as Carlisle’s fellow Hockaday School parent Darriel Johnson — asked for the coach’s thoughts on how highly Nowitzki would be drafted in an all-time basketball draft. His achievements, of course, are obvious: He’s scored a ton of points, won a regular season and Finals MVP, and is the greatest seven-foot shooter the game has ever seen. But, as Carlisle points out, he’s clutch, too.
“In the last 20 years, there’s three guys who have made the most game-winning shots in the last two or three seconds. It’s him, Carmelo, and Kobe Bryant,” Carlisle said. “If you have a last-second shot situation and he’s open, he’s gonna hit the shot. I don’t ever recall him having a clean look and missing the shot. And that, to me, has to factor into it too. I would take him in the top five or six on my team because of just being around the guy.”
That’s some high praise for the German superstar.
Carlisle also gave his former assistant, current Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, plenty of praise for the work he’s done with his team this season. Much like the Mavericks, many in the national media did not believe the Blazers would make the playoffs — but, lo and behold, at the time of the interview Portland was only behind 2-1 to the top-seeded Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. And while Carlisle isn’t rooting against the Dubs, he’s certainly pulling for the Blazers.
“Stotts has done an amazing job there this year,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned in this league, it’s bad luck and bad karma and bad everything to root against anybody. I just don’t think you can do that. But if you’ve got a friend like Stotts – and he brought so much so our situation here, and a lot of people didn’t think he’d get another shot as a head coach. I knew he would, and I knew this time around he would do a great job wherever he went. He went in there – that was a job nobody wanted five years ago – and he reinvented the identity of the team. And then when they did this huge makeover and got kind of ‘veteran young,’ he did it again.”
Later in the show, the guys also talk some hockey and football. You might know Carlisle and Coop as basketball geniuses, but they’ve got hot takes about other sports, too!
The Afternoon Show airs Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m.