Dirk Nowitzki has revealed he was not so sure about Luka Doncic when the Dallas Mavericks first drafted him in 2018.
Nowitzki knew the Mavs would need a new star following his retirement, he just wasn’t sure Doncic was that guy.
“My end of career wasn’t pretty, you know, we were struggling,” Nowitzki said on All The Smoke. “There was some talk of tanking going on and we needed a little spark plug to change things. I didn’t think it was going to be this kid… I’m like, I’m not sure this is going to work. Is he quick enough? Is he athletic enough to go buy guys like he is in Europe? And so there were plenty of doubts there from everybody on the team.
“And so guys were trying to test him a little bit (before training camp started) and you know foul him a little bit here and there in their scrimmages. And you can already see that this kid’s got something about him. He’s got that swag. He knows how to play. He was getting some AND1 mixtape passes out of nowhere. And I’m like, he was flashing some of the talent.”
It’s somewhat of a surprising take from Dirk. Luka had plenty of doubters coming into the league, but chief among them were media taking heads like Stephen A. Smith who seemed not to understand the gravity of what Doncic had achieved in Europe.
Doncic winning EuroLeague and EuroBasket titles – as well as EuroLeague MVP – was no accident. In hindsight, Luka was too good in Europe to be a bust.
Then again, even those who predicted Doncic would succeed in the NBA would have struggled to imagine he’d become as great as he is now.
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