Dirk Nowitzki has more than 20 years of age on Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic and has played more NBA seasons (21) than years Doncic has been alive (19). But it seems the two players have still formed an interesting and frankly, awesome bond both on and off the court.
Nowitzki and Doncic have both spoken to the media about one another at various points, and it’s been all positive. But while Dirk is heading down the homestretch of his career, he’s watching the rookie phenom take on somewhat of a leadership role, at least in terms of dominating on the floor.
Doncic’s play has been superb this year, and he received an invitation to play in the NBA All-Star Rising Stars Challenge. In that game, he’ll be coached by Nowitzki, as the official NBA All-Star Twitter account revealed. After this news came to light, Doncic wasted little time before joking with his teammate not to yell at him during the game.
But Dirk was having none of it, making it known to his “son” that he had to earn his minutes on the floor.
Luka Doncic’s All-Star Caliber Season
There’s a strong argument to be made that 6-foot-7 point-forward should be in the All-Star Game along with the Rising Stars Challenge this year. He’s averaged 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game this season. Doncic’s numbers are even better as of late, as he’s racked up 22.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game through 13 games in the month of January.
Whether this works out will be an interesting talking point, as the full list of All-Stars will be revealed on Thursday, January 31 during the NBA All-Star Draft Show at 7 p.m. EST on TNT.
Interestingly, among Western Conference frontcourt players (it’s iffy on how Doncic should be listed), he received more fan votes (4,242,980) than every player except LeBron James. As NBA.com detailed, it was his weighted score of 4.5, which fell just behind the third and final starter in Paul (who received a 4.0) which kept him from joining the first unit.
Doncic Fueling Mavericks’ Solid Season
The Mavericks sit at 22-27 currently, but it was a recent tough stretch which featured seven losses in nine games to likely playoff teams which set them back a bit. Even still, Dallas finds themselves just two wins shy of their total from last year and 11 back of the 2016-17 record of 33-49.
For good measure, the team is just five games back of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with 32 games still to play. Doncic has been a huge part of the turnaround for the Mavericks, and while there’s still work to do this year, the future outlook is bright.