Saturday, April 5, 2014
Dirk hot again with Holger's help
By Tim MacMahon
LOS ANGELES – Holger Geschwindner had seen enough.
Geschwindner hopped on the first flight from Germany to Dallas he could book after watching his prized pupil struggle through one of the worst shooting nights of his career, continuing a funk with a 2-of-12 outing in a March 23 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Dirk Nowitzki's numbers have been on the uptick since mentor Holger Geschwindner came to visit.
Check out Dirk Nowitzki's numbers since Geschwindner arrived in time for a shooting session before the Mavericks’ next game: 26.3 points per game, 56.4 field goal percentage, 45.2 3-point percentage.
Scoff about the cause-and-effect implication if you want, but Nowitzki busted out of a mini-slump and got hot during his longtime mentor/shot doctor’s midseason visit, too.
“That’s why I like having him around,” coach Rick Carlisle cracked about Geschwindner, the flannel-shirt and leather-jacket-wearing guru who played such a major role in developing Nowitzki from a raw, skinny 16-year-old into a 16-year NBA veteran who ranks 11th on the all-time scoring list.
Nowitzki doesn’t hesitate to say how much Geschwindner’s visits -- which typically occur three times per season -- help him.
“He definitely helps my shot,” Nowitzki said after scoring 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting in Friday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers while Geschwindner watched in the Staples Center stands. “I was in a little funk. He usually comes later, but I wasn’t shooting the ball well on the homestand. I had some bad outings, so it’s always good to see him.
“He’s helped me throughout my whole career. I wouldn’t be the player I am now without him. He still helps me. Little mistakes creep in that I don’t even notice. Even when he’s not there, I work on my shot almost every day, but it’s just stuff that I don’t see.”
That leads to what seems like an obvious question: Why doesn’t Geschwindner make the trip from Germany to Dallas more often?
“Oh, man, I want a life,” joked Nowitzki, who has his mentor stay at his house when Geschwindner visits and goes to the gym with him virtually every night for shooting sessions. “I also want a life.
“No, he can come whenever he wants, but over my 15, 16 years, it’s been always three or four times [per season]. We kept the same rhythm throughout my career. He usually comes at the beginning of the season, comes around the All-Star and then before the playoffs. He usually stays a couple of weeks. In ’11, he stayed the whole playoff run.”
Perhaps the Mavs should hide Holger’s passport, at least as long as the Mavs are alive in the playoffs.