Dirk Nowitzki said he sees a huge upside in No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic after watching him in Dallas Mavericks scrimmages this week.
Doncic, 19, did not suit up for summer league but his work this week impressed Nowitzki, who knows a bit about entering the league as a young foreign star with high expectations.
“He’s been here now for a week, scrimmaged every day, works hard and I really like what I see,” said Nowitzki, who was just six months older when he entered the NBA from Germany. “He’s really incredible with the ball for a big guy, and he’s a legit 6-8.
“He’s unbelievable in the pick-and-roll. He does, like, over-the-head and between-the-leg passes to cutters,” said Nowitzki, who made his comments Tuesday in a radio interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas “The savviness he brings, the court vision — I couldn’t believe what I saw for a 19-, 20-year-old. Unbelievable. He’s a good shooter when he has time. I think he’s going to be great for us for a long, long time.”
The Mavericks acquired Doncic — whom team owner Mark Cuban said was the top prospect on their board and “it wasn’t even close” — from the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to fifth overall pick Trae Young and a future first-round pick.
Doncic, who signed his rookie deal in July, will make a bit more than $5.4 million in 2018-19. Last year’s third overall pick, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, signed a four-year, $30 million deal with club options in the third and fourth seasons.
Nowitzki signed on for a 21st season this summer and will make $5 million in 2018-19.
Doncic helped lead Real Madrid to the Liga ACB championship and EuroLeague title last season. The latter competition ended less than a week before the NBA draft on June 21. Between all of his commitments to teams in Europe, Doncic has appeared in more than 150 games over the past two seasons.
Doncic will wear No. 77 for the Mavericks, a number he wore for the Slovenian national team. He wore No. 7 with Real Madrid.
—Field Level Media