Luka Dončić is now part of the Dallas Mavericks family. And Dirk Nowitzki is giving them one more season — his 21st. And in camp, as another NBA season nears, Dončić is turning heads. Well, one specific head. Dirk’s head.
The comparisons make sense, of course. After all, both players came over from Europe to play in the NBA at a very young age. Nowitzki doesn’t think the comparisons go much further than that, though.
“I could shoot a little bit [at 19], but I never had the court vision, the savviness and the stuff that he brings to the game,” Nowitzki said on Dallas radio’s 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “Just the way he already reads pick-and-rolls. … He’s going to be fun — fun to watch.”
Over his 20-year career, Dirk is averaging 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 38.3% from long range. Nowitzki will always be remembered in Dallas for leading the Mavericks to a title in 2010-11 over the Miami Heat.
Still, the last thing the 20-year veteran wants to do is pressure him too much.
“Obviously, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” Nowitzki adds. “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”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks are coming off their worst season since 1998-99, when they won just 19 games. In fact, they’re coming off back-to-back-losing seasons. They won just 24 games a year ago before acquiring Dončić in a trade on draft night from the Atlanta Hawks. They probably aren’t a playoff team in 2019. But there are far worse players to learn from than Dirk Nowitzki.
And no matter what, this is probably going to be really fun.