Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki knows something about recognizing talents. After all, he’s among the few who have watched, played with, and battled the best talents worldwide. The names he mentioned on his all-time European First Team were expected, but there’s a surprise omission that raised a few eyebrows.
Dirk names his all-time European First Team
Nowitzki could enter the conversation as one of the best European players to dominate the NBA when all is said and done. Dirk collected an NBA and MVP trophy in his career, and he’s been named to All-NBA Teams twelve times, became the first European player to start the All-Star Game, and played in All-Star games fourteen times.
In an interview with NBA Europe, Dirk named his all-time European First Team
- PG: Tony Parker
- SG: Drazen Petrovic
- SF: Luka Doncic
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Pau Gasol
The First Team is composed of some heavy hitters. The guard rotation is all Hall of Famer levels, while the frontcourt rotation is a mix of length, size, and brains. Except for Giannis, all the other players on the First Team play at their own pace and are more cerebral than physical. Some might question Doncic’s inclusion since he’d only started playing in the NBA a few years ago, but Dirk offered his take on it.
“It’s a short sample size for Luka, but he’s obviously in the conversation, so I’m going to use him. And he’s my boy, so that’s five (fifth pick).”
Dirk Nowitzki, NBA Europe YT channel
One person is obviously missing from Dirk's first five guys - MVP frontrunner and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.
Examining Nowitzki’s choices
The sweet shooting big man named Nikola Jokic as part of his all-team European Second Team with Detlef Schrempf, Peja Stojakovic, Toni Kukoc, Arvydas Sabonis. Compared to the First Team, the Second Team may be slower and lack athleticism.
Curiously, Jokic should have been a part of the First Team but him being in the same position as Paul Gasol probably contributed to the reasoning of Dirk Nowitzki. Doncic’s inclusion is also highly debatable because he only has individual accolades to show so far.
That could change come the playoffs time as the Dallas Mavericks are primed to go deeper in the playoffs this time around. If Luka wins the NBA title, Dirk’s inclusion of him will be justified. But at 23 years old, the future remains bright for Doncic. He still has a lot of time to chase that MVP or an NBA ring.