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#pounditMonday, February 6, 2023

Dirk Nowitzki raves about new teammate Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic has been compared to Dirk Nowitzki for several reasons, but Dirk thinks Doncic is even more advanced for his age.

Nowitzki, 40, was drafted No. 9 overall in 1998 and traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He made the jump from Germany straight to the NBA and was already averaging 17.5 points per game in his second season as a 21-year-old. He’s won an NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP award and is closing out a Hall of Fame career.

This year, the Mavericks traded for Doncic, a 19-year-old Slovenian who was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. He made the jump from playing in Spain to the NBA and is already averaging 19.8 points per game.

Though there are parallels between the two, Dirk says Doncic is miles ahead of him and “has no holes.”

“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 stepback 3. He’s got stuff in his repertoire that you just don’t have at 19,” Nowitzki told The New York Times’ Marc Stein.

“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.”

In addition to raving about Doncic’s game, Dirk also noted that the teenager seems to have the mental edge and confidence that it took much longer for Nowitzki to attain.

Though the results aren’t quite there yet for the 3-7 Mavericks, they appear to be in good hands with Doncic.

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