By Antonis Stroggylakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
“It makes me very happy to see how he is playing,” Tavares said on Doncic in an interview with Radio Marca. “I knew that it would be easy for him to play in the NBA and he would be a much better player because there are more spaces.” In a much-discussed interview, Doncic had also cited the difference between court sizes as one of the reasons he thinks it’s easier to produce in the NBA than in Europe.
Over his first seasons in the NBA, the now 21-year-old Doncic went from “Is the hype real?” to triumphally shooshing critics and effortlessly turning doubters into passionate believers up to the point where he’s now widely considered as nothing less than a guaranteed future Hall of Famer.
Tavares, who back in the day had a pretty good idea of what Doncic’s actual deal is, went as far as commenting that the young star’s presence in the NBA has overshadowed Lebron James.
“I am very proud of him [Doncic], there is no longer Lebron, now there is only Luka,” Tavares said. The Cape Verdean big man was also James’ teammate on the Cleveland Cavaliers, albeit very briefly.
Doncic and Tavares played together in Real Madrid for one season. It was 2017-2018, or otherwise known in Europe as “The Year of the Doncic,” given the Slovenian player’s utter dominance in every single competition he participated in.
Tavares, the reigning EuroLeague DPOY, got a first-hand look at Doncic blazing his way to eventual NBA stardom with consecutive leaps: The EuroBasket 2017 crown with Slovenia, his emergence as Real Madrid’s leader, the EuroLeague season and Final Four MVP after the Spanish team won the championship, a historic first and absolutely rare overall triple-double, plus the 2018 ACB MVP achievement.
Now the Doncic sensation has taken over the NBA as one of the league’s main attractions. “I was watching the playoffs just for him,” Tavares, one of Doncic’s most vehement supporters, confessed.