DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki has occasionally half-joked that his German blood makes him a pessimist by nature.
But there’s nothing but positivity flowing through the big German’s veins as the Dallas Mavericks open training camp.
“We got all the talent in the world,” Nowitzki said, not shying away at all when asked whether this roster compares favorably to the Mavs’ 2011 championship team. “We just got to make it work. The chemistry has got to be there.”
No longer does Nowitzki feel like the Mavs must fight just to make the playoffs, as has been the case the last few years. Not after arguably the best summer in franchise history.
The return of center Tyson Chandler, such a critical piece of the title puzzle, in a late-June deal with the New York Knicks got the summer off to a great start. The Mavs made a major splash by stealing restricted free agent small forward Chandler Parsons from the rival Houston Rockets, a move made possible because of a Dirk discount deal that will pay the longtime face of the franchise $25 million over the next three years, less than half of the 12-time All-Star’s market value. And the Mavs improved the rotation and created internal competition with the cap-friendly signings of players such as point guard Jameer Nelson, swingman Richard Jefferson and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.
“I feel like we got better again,” said Nowitzki, 36, who feels good physically as he enters his 17th NBA season. “I think every summer, that should be the franchise’s goal. You never want to stay the same or take a step back, especially in my situation as you get older. You want to get better and want to compete like we did in 2011.
“I feel like we got better and took a great step forward, but we all know how tough the West is. It’s going to be tough to break into the top four. The teams up there are loaded and stacked. But we’re going to go in with a fresh mindset in training camp, work hard for four weeks and then enjoy, hopefully.”