- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki doesn't believe he should be selected as an All-Star for the 11th consecutive season when reserves are announced Thursday.
The Dallas Mavericks superstar has struggled by his standards this season, averaging 17.2 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season in 1998-99. Nowitzki also recognizes that the power forward position is loaded in the Western Conference with talented young players.
Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was voted by the fans to make his first All-Star appearance as a starter. A couple of potential first-time All-Stars -- the Portland Trail Blazers' LaMarcus Aldridge and the Utah Jazz's Paul Millsap -- and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love, who was an injury replacement last season, are among the West power forwards who have made better cases in this lockout-condensed season than the reigning Finals MVP.
"Averaging whatever, 15, 16 points, I don't think you should be an All-Star," Nowitzki said. "But we'll just have to wait and see. I think there is a lot of great young talent in this league that deserves to go. I think LaMarcus Aldridge has been stiff the last couple of years. He's a great young player, fun to watch. You know Blake and Love are playing great. There is a lot of talent at my position."
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett and San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan are the only players with longer active All-Star appearance streaks than Nowitzki.
Nevertheless, Nowitzki said he wouldn't care much if his All-Star streak ends this season.
"To me, it's more about getting right again and getting my body back in rhythm and getting used to all the grinding and running and jumping again," said Nowitzki, who sat out four games last month to go through a personal training camp and strengthen his sore right knee. "I think that's more important to me than an All-Star appearance at this point. Ultimately, (we want) to make a push after the All-Star break. That's ultimately where my head is at here."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.
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