Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki’s scoring cools as he takes Mavericks’ temperature

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t want anyone reading too much into Dirk Nowitzki’s decreased field-goal attempts this season.

Nowitzki is simply checking out what his new teammates bring to the table, Cuban says.

“He kind of takes the temperature and the tenor of the team and tries to play to the team’s strength and complement what we have,” Cuban said. “And so he’s still figuring out things as well.”

Shooting guard Monta Ellis is the Mavs’ leading scorer, something that’s been a Nowitzki staple since he joined the Mavs in 1998. However, Cuban said that’s all part of Nowitzki’s long-range plan.

“Dirk is still feeling his way and what he wants to do,” Cuban said. “Dirk is kind of evaluating everybody just like we are.

“He wants to see what everybody can do, he’s deferring to Monta quite a bit to give Monta all kinds of opportunities. He’ll pick his dagger shots a little bit more frequently once we settle in.”

Depth on horizon

With point guard Shane Larkin back from surgery, the Mavs are awaiting the arrival of two other injured players — center/power forward Brandan Wright (shoulder) and guard Devin Harris (toe).

There’s no timetable for either player’s return, but they eventually will boost the Mavs’ depth.

“Minutes will go down for everybody and if we can just get in a rhythm it’ll be great, because we’ll be able to go 12-deep literally,” Cuban said. “We literally will be able to play 12 people and won’t blink an eye.

“That helps to reduce minutes, and at least we’ll be able to play with a bigger intensity throughout the game knowing everybody can be confident.”

Logjam at point guard

With Larkin in the picture at point guard along with Jose Calderon and Gal Mekel, distributing minutes could become a headache.

But coach Rick Carlisle has his own theory about playing time.

“Whoever earns the minutes plays, is the best way of doing it,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got some guys that are good players and we need all of them.

“We can’t play all of them all the time, so we’ve got to base it on who’s doing what and what our needs are, and sometimes it’s matchups. It’s important to have depth.”

Consolation prize?

The Mavericks went hard after Dwight Howard during free agency, but the center instead signed with the Houston Rockets.

That left Dallas with the consolation prize of shooting guard Monta Ellis.

Or is Ellis considered a consolation prize?

“It’s too early in the season to say who’s the consolation prize,” Cuban said. “The logic’s there — I’m just not looking for a fight.

“Some of the best deals I’ve ever done in my entire life were the ones I didn’t make. And it doesn’t apply to anyone specific.”

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