(Reuters) – Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki said on Monday the team’s All Star guard Luka Doncic has the ability to change games just like he did during his 21 seasons in the NBA.
With his signature one-legged fadeaway jump shot, Nowitzki led the Mavs to the title in 2011, and many hail the 2.13m German as the best international player of all time.
While he sees a bevy of young talent in the league, he said sharp-shooting Slovenian Doncic stands out.
“Luka is, for me, the guy that’s on the top of the list because he’s only 22-years-old,” Nowitzki said on a call with reporters when asked which young player had the most potential.
“He still has so much upside and stuff to learn. His creativity, the way he reads the game, the way he spreads the ball, the way he can score really from the post all the way out to half court, there are no holes in his game. That, at 22, is unbelievable.”
He said he was thrilled to see international players continue to grow as a force in the league, singling out two-time league MVP and NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic of Serbia.
“It’s been incredible to watch,” he said.
“When I first got in the league, I think every team had maybe one international guy, and now it’s numerous international
International players are benefiting from the evolution of the game toward one where every player is expected to be able to shoot from distance, opening up passing lanes, he added.
“It’s become a fun, sharing-type of basketball,” he said.
“The bigs can all shoot now, and the game has really evolved in 20 years. It plays into the hands of the international players that are very skilled and can make shots, and bigs can make plays off the dribble.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)