New Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson arrived in Dallas after being drafted on Thursday night. The third overall pick Luka Donic was traded for Trae Young in a deal with the Atlanta Hawks that also sent a future protected first-round draft pick to Atlanta. With the 33rd pick, the Mavericks selected Jalen Brunson in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.
The introductory press conference kicked off with the president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson addressing the media. By taking a trip down memory lane to 1998, when they made a trade for another European player by the name of Dirk Nowitzki and sending the late Robert Traylor to the Milwaukee Bucks. It turned out to be an excellent decision for the Mavs because of what was to come twenty years later. Dirk is now entering his record-breaking 21st season and is the all-time leading scorer amongst foreign-born players.
Nelson was asked about players that they truly coveted heading into Thursday’s draft, he would select his words cautiously related to the 19-year-old from Slovenia. The 19-year-old rookie will not turn 20 until after the All-Star break but has the opportunity to play with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki.
”Dirk and I had a long talk coming in,” Nelson said about the player Dallas drafted days after his 20th birthday in 1998.
”We’re obviously very excited to have Doncic, but he’s got a very tough road ahead of him. Dirk wasn’t done any favors in his first two years. We are going to steer away from any of those comparisons. Luka is his own guy. He’s got his own challenges.”
Coach Carlisle would name drop a couple of international player in the past that touched on the versatility that we can see from Doncic next season. Players such as former New Jersey Net Drazen Petrovic, three-time champion Toni Kukoc and four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili.
”I really feel it’s important that we shouldn’t try to compare this guy to anybody,” Carlisle said Friday during the introductory press conference that included Doncic and second-round pick Jalen Brunson, who won two NCAA titles in three years at Villanova. ”Let him be himself. Let his game takes its own form.”
The Mavericks are hoping by drafting Doncic, that he along with Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes can be the bridge once Dirk decides to finally hang it up.
”Last night was symbolic to me that it was kind of a defining moment in this rebuild,” said Carlisle, who had just one losing season as a coach before the current Dallas slide. ”We’re going to propel forward with the idea that we’ve got to start winning games.”
Coach Carlisle has already named Doncic as a starter just as he did last year with Dennis Smith Jr. The Mavericks are hoping that lighting does not strike twice as the youth was partially to blame for the 57-107 record over the past two seasons. Including a 24-58 record after last season and another explanation was because of all the undrafted players, which include Yogi Ferrell and Maxi Kleber.
Dallas has not won a playoff series since hoisting their only NBA Championship in 2o11, and have missed the playoffs altogether in three of the past six seasons. Before the current drought, they went to 12 straight postseasons. Nelson would close out the press conference by making a statement about drew comparisons to Michael Finley mentoring Dirk and Steve Nash in the early 2000’s. In the way that Harrison Barnes is that same position being the elder statesmen of the group.
”Michael Finley was our Harrison Barnes back in the day,” Nelson said. ”We feel like we’ve got that here in a different form. There’s just some really cool elements to this that take me back and remind me about what it was like 20 years ago when we were watching these young guys.”
The full interview can be seen here!
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