After his first ten games in the NBA, we can say getting Luka Doncic was a smart decision by the Dallas Mavericks. A 19-year-old wunderkind from Slovenia has proven everybody he can play with the big boys but also be a dominant player on the court even at such an early age.
Dirk Nowitzki, who is possibly the greatest European player in NBA history, has already a lot of respect for the upcoming star Doncic.
Nowitzki is currently still recovering from an inflamed tendon in his left foot and was featured in an excellent article by Marc Stein where he spoke about a lot of different things but he also emphasized the importance of Luka Doncic for the Mavs franchise.
Based on everything he saw from the youngster both on and off the court left Dirk impressed.
He’s like a savvy veteran to me already. The way he sees things. The way he reads pick-and-roll situations. The way he carries himself on and off the floor. He’s got the midrange game. He shot like four floaters against San Antonio that were money. He’s got the step back 3. He’s got stuff in his repertoire that you just don’t have at 19.
The whole floor game that he has — he really has no holes. If you go under the screen and roll, he shoots the 3 -ball way better than I thought he would. If you go over, he kind of keeps you on his back. He’s got the floater. He’s got the passes. Really, really impressive for a 19-year-old. The sky’s the limit.
Both Doncic and Nowitzki came into the league young, however, their background is also a bit different since Luka made a significant career in Europe winning pretty much everything he could and showing the world he is ready for the biggest stage in his further career development.
Dirk said things are a bit easier for Luka then it was for him when he was rookie simply because the bigs are no longer playing as physical as they did back in the 90’s.
He’s a very confident player already. He was a full-on pro since he was, I don’t know, 14 years old. He lived in a different country before he even came here. His English is good. He feels like, in his head, he’s running the show already. He carries himself like a true vet. So we have a great time. He’s a good kid. But so far he doesn’t really ask me much. He just plays his game.
I didn’t have that confidence, that swag when I got in the league. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it in this league. This guy comes here basically knowing he’s going to make it in the league. And that’s how he carries himself on the court. No fear. It’s just completely different.
Also, the way the game is now is kind of perfect for him. When I got into the league 20 years ago, it was way more physical. The bigs were just shoving in there and holding. And now everything is a foul call. So I think the rules play right into his wheelhouse. It’s not even close to compare us.
Luka is currently averaging 20 points per game, alongside with 6 rebounds and 4 assists in just 35 minutes per game. The Mavs have not started the season so good, however, that is all part of a growing process they must go through. Good thing for Luka is that he has one of the greatest scorers in NBA history in his team, so we’re positive his learning curve will increase