Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki was a starter in the first NBA game he ever played, but the Dallas Mavericks legend will likely be opening games on the bench in 2018-19.

According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said he expects Nowitzki to shift into a reserve role for Dallas this season.

In 1,471 career appearances for the Mavs, Nowitzki has opened 1,440 games on the floor. The last time he didn’t start was in 2012-13.

This is the second recent, notable moment of an NBA legend heading to the bench. While with the San Antonio Spurs last year, Tony Parker ceded his starting position to promising guard Dejounte Murray. Parker has since joined the Charlotte Hornets.

Nowitzki will likely end his career as a member of the Mavericks, given his age and diminishing minutes.

The 40-year-old is still a respectable contributor thanks to efficient shooting, but Nowitzki understands Dallas should focus on developing younger talent.

David Kenyon
Writer for Sportsnaut and Bleacher Report, mostly covering college football as well as the NFL, NBA and college basketball.