Opening Tip: Is Dirk done as an All-Star?

Dirk Nowitzki averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds after the All-Star break last season. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

DALLAS -- Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki's peers as historically elite power forwards of his generation, returned to the All-Star Game last season after a one-year hiatus.

Can Nowitzki do the same after his 11-year All-Star streak was snapped last season?

"Tough question. I have no idea," Nowitzki said. "But that's not really my goal. If it happens, it happens. If not, I'll be in Mexico again on the beach."

It's reasonable to anticipate Nowitzki, at the ripe old age of 35, putting up numbers that merit All-Star consideration. After the All-Star break last season, once he finally had worked himself into form, Nowitzki averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 43.3 percent from 3-point range. He has a competent point guard to get him the ball in Jose Calderon. And Nowitzki is healthy entering a season for the first time since the Mavs' title campaign.

But putting up big numbers won't guarantee Nowitzki an All-Star spot, particularly considering how many high-quality power forwards there are in the West.

Duncan (OK, really a center), Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee and Zach Randolph were all All-Stars last season. Kevin Love was an All-Star the previous two years. Pau Gasol has made four All-Star appearances. And young guys like Serge Ibaka and Anthony Davis might make significant leaps this season.

It's a tough list to crack, and the tie-breaker typically isn't tied to individual numbers. Nowitzki knows that if he's an All-Star this season, that probably would mean a lot of things have gone well for the Mavs.

"The only good thing about being an All-Star is it means your team is winning," Nowitzki said. "Not a lot of guys from losing teams become an All-Star. If that's the case [with him selected as an All-Star], that means we're a winning franchise and that's where we want to be."

He'd rather be there than a Mexican beach.