By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson discussed whether Luka Doncic is ready to make the NBA jump next season and compared the possible adjustment issues the 19-year-old player might have to face, with Dirk Nowitzki’s adaptation process when he first joined the league.
“It took Dirk two years and he’s arguably the greatest player to ever come over. So if he would’ve had to do it all over would he have another year to put under his belt and experience? That’s really a question for him (Doncic),” Nelson said to KTCK 1310AM The Ticket, per Sportsday.Dallasnews:
The Mavs have the fifth overall pick in the Draft and will be able to land Doncic only if the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and the Memphis Grizzlies skip choosing the 19-year-old Slovenian reigning EuroLeague champion, season MVP and Final Four MVP.
Here’s what Nelson said on:
“I’ve seen him play a number of times throughout the year, not being a stranger in the European market. We’ve tracked him quite a bit for a while. What he’s done is really unprecedented in a lot of respects. At his age to do some of the things, he’s done, not only with Real Madrid but with his national team winning the gold. Very, very rare air there.”
If Doncic will commit to the draft:
“When you’re a player if his ilk and you’re playing for Real Madrid, which is an NBA version of European basketball, money is not an issue. It’s when you’re ready. Whether you’re Luka Doncic, or when we first drafted Dirk. Dirk was young at the time, maybe a year older, but you’re wanting to come over when you’re physically ready and when you can make an impact. Even after Dirk made his commitment in year one that’s when he was getting thrown around like a rag doll and still maturing physically. There was some second guessing and did he make the right decision, did he come over a little too early and that sort of thing. I’m sure Luka is going through the same thought processes. Is this something I’m physically ready for? Would it be better for me to play another year or two in Europe? Obviously, that’s his decision, his family’s, his mother’s, Billy Duffy his agent … at the right time they’ll go through all those options I’m sure.”
If Doncic is ready for the NBA:
“Absolutely. It’s just this is a whole different level. Even the great ones from Europe take a year or two. It took Dirk two years and he’s arguably the greatest player to ever come over. So if he would’ve had to do it all over would he have another year to put under his belt and experience? That’s really a question for him. Is he ready? Yes. Does he have some defensive challenges? Is there going to be a gestation period? He’s going to go against the best cross-section of athletes in the sport. The 2s and the 3s in this league are killers. There definitely will be a period of adjustment.”