Dirk Nowitzki says Luka Doncic is better than he was at 19: 'Something I've never seen in my 20 years'
The rookie drew high praise from one of the best of all time
For all of his overseas success and physical tools, Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic is considered in most circles to be the best international prospect to come over to the NBA. But it's one thing to hear the Doncic hype from pundits -- it's quite another to hear it from arguably the greatest European player in NBA history.
Entering his 21st NBA season, Dirk Nowitzki had incredibly high praise for Doncic after watching the 19-year-old Slovenian play for just one week. Nowitzki spoke with the Ben and Skin Show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, and marveled at what the 6-foot-6 Doncic brings to the game.
"I'm really liking what I'm seeing," Nowitzki said. "He's incredible with the ball for a big guy. He's unbelievable in pick and roll play. His court vision is already unbelievable. I couldn't believe what I saw from a 19/20-year-old. He's a good shooter when he has time and I think he's going to be great for us for a long, long time.
"He's an incredible talent. His court vision and passing for his size at his age is something I've never seen in my 20 years."
Nowitzki was also asked if Doncic is better than he was at 19, and Dirk didn't hesitate with his answer.
"Oh yeah. I could shoot a little bit but I never had the court vision ... the savviness that he brings to the game," Nowitzki said. "Just the way he already reads the pick and roll ... all the stuff like Chris Paul and these guys do ... He's going to pick defenses apart and it's going to be fun to watch."
Of course Nowitzki is going to praise the player his team traded up to draft, but it's hard to imagine that Dirk would go this far with his compliments if he didn't truly mean it. The Mavericks traded the No. 5 overall pick (Trae Young) and a future first-round pick in order to get Doncic, so they're clearly all-in on him becoming the face of the franchise once (if?) Nowitzki hangs them up for good.
Doncic led Real Madrid to the EuroLeague title last season and became the youngest player to ever win the EuroLeague MVP award. Teamed up with exciting second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. and newly acquired DeAndre Jordan, Doncic and the Mavericks will look to improve on last season's 24 wins.
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