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Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season with the franchise, is excited to mentor and play with rookie Luka Doncic and thinks the 19-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.
The Mavericks selected Doncic with the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. The organization was enamored with Doncic, so much so that Dallas traded their fifth overall pick to the Atlanta Hawks to select the Real Madrid Star. The Hawks drafted Oklahoma point guard Trae Young with the fifth pick.
Doncic was the Most Valuable Player this past season in the EuroLeague and the MVP of the EuroLeague Final Four. Doncic will be paired in the same backcourt with 20-year-old Dennis Smith Jr. and Nowitzki is looking forward to seeing what the dynamic duo can do together.
“Obviously, we’ve put a lot in Luka’s basket,” Nowitzki told Mavs.com. “So, hopefully he’s going to develop nicely. I think he’s got all the tools. He’s smart, he’s already got a great basketball IQ for a 19-year-old. So, hopefully he’s going to bring a lot to the table.”
Doncic did not play in summer league, as the Mavericks didn’t want to overwork him in the wake of a long EuroLeague season.
Nowitzki, who underwent ankle surgery in April, averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 2017-18, shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range.