(Originally published on 10/13/18)
For the first time in his career, Dirk Nowitski is starting the season on the waiver wire. Last year he was drafted in the ninth round. This year, he's ranked 116th in pre-season in Yahoo’s ranking and is scheduled to be out for the first two weeks of the regular season with an ankle injury.
Dirk's one of the four pillars of fantasy basketball along with Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion and Tim Duncan. These four power forwards dominated the top-four picks in every fantasy basketball draft for five seasons from 2000 to 2005.
During those fantasy seasons, Dirk aveaged 21+ points, 8.5+ rebounds, 1.2+ threes, 1.0+ steals and 1.0 blocks on at least 45% FG/34% 3ptFG/85% FT shooting.
Peak Dirk was a fantasy juggernaught. Statistically, he was consistently ranked fourth behind Garnett, Marion and Duncan but the volume of efficient FG/3pt/FT attempts combined with his elite rebounding made you consider him with the top overall pick. It wasn't the best option but you could talk yourself into it. You could build a team around Dirk by grabbing a big (Marcus Camby?) and three-point specialist (Michael Redd?) on the back end with the 24th and 25th picks in a 12-team league, for example.
Dirk remained a productive fantasy option up until 2014 but the steals, blocks, rebounds all gradually declined which caused him to fall further in fantasy drafts until he was passed on altogether this season in our league. There are other Hall of Fame players (Pau Gasol, pre-season rank 185th; Dwyane Wade, 261st, Vince Carter, 283rd) available on the wire but they weren't seminal fantasy players in their primes like Dirk.
But maybe this isn't the end for Dirk. Last year, the 12 teams in our league combined to make 281 waiver wire moves. Surely, one of the expected 300 moves this season can involve Dirk. It would be more honorable than another team taking yet another flyer on James Ennis or DJ Augustin.