When Dirk Nowitzki says to you ‘let that ball fly’ – well, you let that thing fly!

Dirk’s just one of many voices I’m tuned in to every day. Everyday is a new opportunity for me to be a better ball player than I was yesterday.

You can’t truly appreciate the amount of work and time it takes to get through an NBA Season, until you’re actually inside a locker room.

Eighty-two regular season games, playoff series, practices and shootarounds… there’s so many different levels to this.

When, and if, any downtime presents itself during the week, my wife Katie and I do our best to get away from basketball. Not because we don’t love the life. It’s all we ever think about! But simply to make sure we’re getting a nice balance to it all.

Katie is 30 weeks pregnant, which has absolutely enriched our lives and in part has made us start to plan for our family’s future.

We have an amazing lifestyle in Dallas – the organisation is incredible, the fans are amazing and the community is one of the best in the world. Everyone is committed to success – it starts at the top with owner Mark Cuban and carries all the way down.

I genuinely feel as though I am in the greatest position possible to reach my full potential.

The amount of work I’m putting in is never-ending. If I’m not running on the treadmill, I’m in the gym putting up shots with our support staff or working on watching more film.

It’s been that way ever since I arrived – you can’t help it. You look around the place and everyone is putting in extras all the time. Even on our days off, you’ll see most players coming through at some point to work on different areas of their game.

So I know, just to be in a position to earn minutes, I have to be doing everything I can around the team facility, and even more! Because that is what every other player on the team is doing.

When I was first signed by the Dallas Mavericks, one of the first people to reach out to me was Joe Ingles. We’ve obviously played together for Australia in a number of international tournaments, but he’s obviously followed a very similar pathway to the NBA.

I remember him giving me real insight into what I could expect if I wanted to make the most of my opportunity in Dallas.

Of course, from a team perspective, as I mentioned there are so many accomplished veterans at the Mavericks that I’m lucky enough to compete with, including one of the greatest players in the history of the game in Dirk.

My first couple of days here in Dallas, no one else was around because most of the players were still enjoying the off-season before coming back for opening day of training camp.

But true to the stories I heard of Dirk before I signed, there he was in the gym on my very first day with the Mavericks.

He had come in for a personal shootaround and walked over not too long after he noticed I was there, and introduced himself.

Over the next couple of days, we shot around a bit together and completed a bit of speed work as well.

I’ll never forget one of the first things he said to me, after we were both able to get to know each other some more.

“You gotta be confident in yourself. You’re a good shooter Ryan, so back yourself in when your number is called and continue to be confident in yourself.”

I wasn’t too sure what impressed me more – his approachable nature or the advice he was prepared to offer me, a guy he had only met for a couple of days at that point.

But that’s him – just a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy that is willing to do anything he can to help out a teammate.

That’s been great, knowing a legend like Dirk is in my corner. Since the end of January, I’ve managed to work myself into the rotation and earn consistent minutes off the bench. I’ve seen it as a reward for the effort I’m putting in, and it does refresh you to an extent, knowing that those minutes were given to me based my output on the court,.

One of the big trends coming through the league is the value of 3-and-d guys – players that are able to have an impact at both ends of the court by spacing the floor with perimeter shooting and locking down on opponents.

Joe has developed himself as one of the game’s best players at that position, and his summer re-signing was a reflection of just how much he means to the Utah Jazz.

It’s certainly where I see myself going. When I’m putting up a thousand shots in the gym at shootaround, each jumper is getting me closer and closer to that goal.

I’m finding consistency with my shooting, but even in games, when the shots aren’t falling you have to find other ways to be effective for your team – that’s the message the coach Rick Carlisle has emphasised to me and the rest of the guys on our squad.

Second, third and even fourth efforts might not come up under the points, rebounds or assists column, but that’s what it takes to win games of basketball in the NBA.

We had a tough, grinding finish to the regular season, but everyone in the locker room is committed to building a winning culture here in Dallas.

Personally, I sought to make the most of every game we had left in the regular season, and will continue to do all I can to help this team improve for the future.