Rick Carlisle: Dirk Is A Top 10 NBA Player Ever

Dirk Nowitzki has his lovers and haters. He’s a seven footer with some of the most incredible offensive gifts any player – regardless of size – has ever had and is one of just four players to have career averages in the postseason of over 25 points and 10 rebounds. But despite playing at an insane level for over a decade, Dirk has his doubters. He’s different, and because of that, some people will always give him a “soft” label. It may be impossible for Nowitzki to ever break through.

But, validation from your coach is sometimes the best compliment you can receive. Check out what Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said on “ESPN First Take” today:

“In my opinion, he’s a top 10 player in NBA history because of the uniqueness of his game and how he’s carried this franchise on his back for over a decade,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told “ESPN First Take” on Monday. “He’s just right. He’s leading the team. His shot-making is great. He’s passing the ball great. He’s one of the guys that’s directing traffic for us defensively.”

Carlisle later added:

“When he’s on the floor, we feel like we can beat anybody,” Carlisle said. “He’s that good.”

How great of a player can Nowitzki become? At 32 years old, he still has time, especially since it doesn’t appear like his body is wearing down. What if he keeps this level of play up for another three years, then has two years after that where he slowly fades into one of the best role-playing, three-point shooters ever? If that happens, he would be approaching 30,000 career points with well over 10,000 career rebounds (which would throw him into the conversation with the 20-25 best rebounders ever). Could he eventually break the top 10 players in NBA history?

Do you agree with Rick Carlisle?

Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.