Mavs need co-star for Dirk Nowitzki

DALLAS -- Pick whichever side you want on the Dirk Nowitzki vs. Father Time debate, but Charles Barkley makes one point that is pretty tough to argue against.

It's not realistic to continue counting on Nowitzki, who turns 34 next month, to be "The Man" on an otherwise starless championship contender.

Really, it's miraculous that the Dallas Mavericks reached the NBA mountaintop last summer with Nowitzki as the only All-Star on the roster. A lone star team has broken through about once a decade in recent NBA history, and it's foolish to think lightning will strike twice in Dallas as Nowitzki nears his rocking chair years.

For Nowitzki to have a legitimate chance to win another championship, he needs to become a co-star, preferably playing Robin instead of the Batman role.

That's not a knock on one of the best power forwards of all-time. It's just reality.

"Hey, I mean, if that's the case, I'd love to hand over the keys," Nowitzki said. "We'll have to wait and see what happens, but I still think I can play some great basketball and can still contribute to a good team."

There's no question Nowitzki can contribute to a good team. He has the kind of game -- heavily reliant on shooting touch, needing just a decent dose of mobility -- that ages well. But the big German can't be expected to carry a great team in the twilight of his prime.

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