George Karl: Dirk Nowitzki 'about 80 percent,' getting better

Denver coach George Karl calls it like he sees it. For evidence, just flash back to his pre-playoff comments that he hoped the Nuggets would get a first-round matchup with the Mavericks.

OK, so Karl ended up regretting that comment and looked like a fool as the Mavs marched to their first NBA title. But Karl at least you know you can get an honest opinion from the man.

And Karl certainly doesn’t agree with Charles Barkley’s opinion that Father Time has caught up with Dirk Nowitzki, who dropped 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting in a win in Denver last week.

“I’m going to give Dirk the benefit of the doubt right now that he’s still at 75 or 80 percent of his conditioning and he’s not yet at 100 percent,” Karl told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ian Fitzsimmons in an interview that will air during tonight’s pregame show. “The lockout year, the championship year, he came back at probably about 50 percent. I think he’s about 80 percent right now and he’s still got another 10 or 20 percent to go.

“I think Charles likes to make the dramatic, the outrageous comment more often than being the most honest and truthful guy in the world.”