Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic along with Kristaps Porzingis have been given the keys to the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise.
Last season, the Mavericks traded most of their starting lineup in Wesley Mattews, Dennis Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes and DeAndre Jordan. Leaving only Doncic to run Rick Carlisle’s offense. During his rookie campaign, Doncic averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game while consistently earning the Western Conference Rookie of the Month Award. He went on to be named a unanimous member of the 2018-2019 First Team All-Rookie Team with Rookie of the Year runner-up Trae Young.
“He has one year in the league and had a great year as a rookie and was phenomenal. Sometimes it could happen quickly for a guy years one through three more so in my estimation when a guy is in the league. His fourth and fifth year is when you really see what you got.”
Erving played 16 years in the NBA. During his time in the league, he won four MVP Awards and an NBA Championship in 1982. As a member of the Philadephia 76ers. He also captured two ABA Championships as well with the New York Nets in 1974 and 1976.
Erving was aware that Doncic has been pro since he was 16 also. “The fact that he started playing professionally at age 16 or 17 hasn’t hurt him,” he told me.
“So he might be an early bloomer than some of the guys who go to the universities in the U.S. The one and done guys, but he had a great season, and he is a great replacement for Dirk.”
Filling Dirk Nowitzki’s Shoes
Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki won his first and only NBA Championship in 2011 against the Miami Heat. Five years after the Heat beat the Mavericks for their first championship. Nowitzki won his league MVP in 2007. During that season, he averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists leading the Mavericks to a 67-15 record. The best record in franchise history.
During Monday’s media day in Dallas, Doncic responds to Julius “Dr. J” Erving stating that he’s a great replacement of Dirk.
“I had pressure since I was 16. So, I like pressure, but Dirk is Dirk. He has been here over 21 years, he won everything. It’s hard to replace Dirk for sure,” Doncic told me.
Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle on Replacing Dirk Nowitzki
Carlisle was asked the same question about his rising star and the potential for Doncic to replace Nowitzki.
“I don’t like to use the word replacement. This is a new era that we enter into really by virtue, that Dirk is not playing anymore. So, Luka and KP [Kristaps Porzingis] are the guys that the spotlight is on because they are viewed as the best players. It is so much more to it than that these guys are young. Luka is on his first contract KP just signed his extension.”
The Mavericks coach proceeded to speak on the subject while offering a comparison to when he joined the Boston Celtics and teamed up with Larry Bird.
“When I got drafted and made the Boston Celtics in 1984, Larry Bird was on his third contract. When I came here in 2008, Dirk was on his second or third, Kidd was on his third or fourth, and Terry was on his third or fourth. These guys have been through the wars, and they knew that winning was really important because they have gone through some difficult losses.” Carlisle stated.
“The guys that are here, right this minute for us haven’t gone through that. I mean [J.J.] Barea has been through some of it, but Luka and KP haven’t. But, this light shines white-hot on both of these guys, and we have to help them navigate through all that.” said Carlisle.