DENVER -- Soon after Peja Stojakovic signed with the Mavericks, coach Rick Carlisle proclaimed that the veteran forward is one of the best shooters in the history of the game.
Stojakovic has yet to provide evidence that he’s still worthy of such praise since making his Dallas debut. His numbers in three games with the Mavs aren’t pretty: 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting, including 1-of-11 from 3-point range.
It’s not for a lack of good looks. Stojakovic, who starts at small forward, has actually fit into the flow of the Mavs’ offense well, with Dirk Nowitzki drawing a lot of attention and Jason Kidd delivering the ball in Stojakovic’s sweet spots.
“I’m getting open looks,” said Stojakovic, a career 40-percent 3-point shooter who hadn’t played since Nov. 26 before arriving in Dallas due to a sore left knee. “I just need to knock them down. I’m just trying to get into the rhythm. I feel comfortable. It’s just that I haven’t played for so long and having legs underneath you, but my knee is responding well.”
The Mavs will be patient with Stojakovic, who didn’t play in the second half of Thursday night’s loss to the Nuggets. They expected it to be a process for him to chip off the rust after such a long layoff.
“Peja’s got to keep working,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s going to be all right in the long run. He had only played [eight] games in the season. It’s going to take him more than a couple of games. I was basically out only three weeks and it took me five games to get my legs back. He’ll be all right. He’s going to make those open shots.”