HoopsHype.com Interviews

Dirk Nowitzki: "We will have a good team if we can play good defense"
by Jorge Sierra / August 16, 2002

First of all, how's that ankle?

Dirk Nowitzki: My ankle is OK. I have no pain anymore and can practice and play like I did before.

Do you think you'll be in the best physical condition for the World Championship?

DN: Yes, I think so. Everything is going well. Yesterday I had my first game and it was like never being away from the team.

Were you ever afraid you may not be taking part in the tournament because of those insurance issues?

DN: Well, of course I thought about that. But I was very sure about taking part because I know that the German Federation cares a lot about insurance issues and I want to say thanks for that.

Did you talk with Mark Cuban about this?

DN: No, I did not talk with him. But German Federation sports director Wolfgang Brenscheidt and my manager Holger Geschwindner did.

What do you expect the German team to do in the World Championship?

DN: We will have a good team if we can play good defense. I think the European Championship last year showed that we can beat every team on a good day. Our first goal is to make the second round and the second goal is to make the quarter finals. After that, everything is possible.

What are the main strengths of the team?

DN: We are a team and know each other very well. We still have the emotions of last year in the team. And we are one year older and one year more experienced. But we are still a young team which has a lot to learn.

And your main weaknesses?

DN: I don't think that we have a main weakness. On bad days, we are weak in each position. Sometimes we have to defend better. But there are no constant weaknesses.

Do you see any team with a chance to beat the United States in Indianapolis?

DN: The US Team will do everything to avoid losing in front of their home crowd. But I think they cannot be as sure as they were some years ago. Of course, Yugoslavia will have a very strong team. We've heard that Brazil and Argentina will have good teams. And, as you could see in Sydney in the semifinal against Lithuania, there will be a day when the US Team will lose. But maybe not in this championship.

Finally, Rashard Lewis may join the Mavs if he doesn't re-sign with the Sonics. How much of an upgrade would his signing mean for the team? Do you think that is an addition the Mavs need?

DN: No doubt that would make the team stronger. I think that we could use his strength very well. But at this moment this is pure speculation because nothing is decided yet.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com. Christoph Büker, media officer of the German Basketball Federation, helped conduct the interview

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