After suffering a disappointing 2017-18 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks managed to improve their roster this summer. The Mavericks solidified their frontcourt with the acquisition of DeAndre Jordan in the recent free agency. In the 2018 NBA Draft, Dallas engaged in a trade deal with the Atlanta Hawks for the draft rights of European superstar Luka Doncic.
Though Luka Doncic is yet to play a single game in the NBA, there are some people who think that he could replace Dirk Nowitzki as the new face of the Mavericks’ franchise. In a recent appearance on Dallas radio’s 105.3 The Fan as reported by ESPN, Nowitzki, who is currently entering his 21st NBA season with the Mavericks, shared his assessment of his new rookie teammate and said that Doncic could be better than he was when he first entered the league.
Though Dirk Nowitzki had already shown his shooting ability in his rookie season, he admitted that he did not have the same court vision as Luka Doncic. Doncic played professional basketball at the age of 16, and last season, he helped Real Madrid win the 2017-2018 EuroLeague title, and he was named the Final Four MVP. Nowitzki acknowledged Doncic’s incredible talent, but they don’t want to put too much pressure on him in his rookie season.
As long as he’s playing for the Mavericks, the 40-year-old center/power forward vowed to do everything he can to help Luka Doncic develop into a legitimate superstar in the league.
“Obviously, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Nowitzki said. “Coming over from a different country, I went through the same thing about 20 years ago. It’s tough to adjust to a lot of things: living in a different country, another culture, to a different game, different coaching, different play style. For me, that took a full year. My first year was really, really tough. We’re going to do everything we can to help this kid develop and have fun and learn so we can see the best Luka here hopefully in a couple more years. But he’s an incredible talent.”
— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) September 11, 2018
Days before training camp starts, Dirk Nowitzki revealed that Luka Doncic has already started working in the gym. Nowitzki personally witnessed Doncic’s passing ability and court vision, as well as how he moves in pick-and-rolls. The Mavericks legend said that he loves what he is seeing in Doncic. Though Nowitzki is yet to announce when he will retire, he can be assured that he will be leaving the Mavericks in good hands.