Dirk Nowitzki missed 13 shots Wednesday night and scored just 12 points, but the Mavericks had Jason Kidd and Caron Butler to fall back on with 20 points and 18 points, respectively. Plus, they were playing the Nets, so Nowitzki could have scored a few buckets for the other team and the Mavericks still would have won game No. 13 in a row.

But Nowitzki's rough night for the NBA's hottest team may be the exception that proves the rule -- the rule being he's a darned good player. The question is just how good? If we assume Allen Iverson's turbulent career is at an end, there would only be three active players who have scored more points in the NBA than the big German: Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryat and Kevin Garnett. And Nowitzki is all of two months older than Bryant, so it's not like he's going away soon.

Despite all of that, an overwhelming majority of SportsNation says Jason Kidd has a better all-time resume. Fair enough, but is Nowitzki an all-time great or an all-time very good?

Lucky Albright (Los Angeles)

Skip Bayless keeps saying on 1st and 10 that Dirk has never showed up in the playoffs before...I disagree. Just last year, he had a great series against Denver, but got little supporting help. In '06 he dropped fifty in game on (the Suns? Spurs?), of course made that winning layup drive to send Game 7 to overtime...I feel like he's had plenty of playoff success. He came up short against G.S., but again, that was with Nellie playing him and getting little supporting help.

Jeff Caplan
Jeff Caplan

Skip Bayless gets paid to talk. Anyone who thinks Dirk doesn't show up in the playoffs is ridiculous. It's an old and tired argument. Look, would Dirk like to take some things back? Of course. Does he still go nuts thinking about the Miami series? Yes. But, all in all, he's the guy that got them to the Finals. You might remember the phenomenal series against the Spurs and then the Suns. And as you say, he was terrific last year. I do think this older, wiser Dirk is different mentally and physically. His game if anyone's noticed is based more around the basket than ever before. His 3-pointers are way, way down. And finally, after the trade, he has good scorers around him. He doesn't have to do it all and now swarming him with double and triple teams will come with much more risk. Full transcript

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