Basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki dominated the game at a very young age. After being drafted in 1998, it would only take him a few years before he made his first All-Star team.
By the time his career came to an end 21 years later, he was a 14x All-Star, 12x All-NBA player, and NBA Champion.
Luckily for the Mavericks, they found their new "Dirk" in a kid named Luka Doncic. While there is doubting he's got a lot to prove, Nowitzki himself says he's got the most potential of any young star in the league.
"Luka is, for me, the guy that's on the top of the list because he's only 22-years-old," Nowitzki said, per Reuters. "
"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."
Luka, 22, has quickly emerged as one of the NBA's best players. The Slovenian-born point guard has virtually no limitations on offense and can score in a multitude of ways.
In nearly three and a half seasons as a pro, he's averaging 25.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.8 assists on 45.7% shooting.
Of course, like any player, Luka does have his fair share of problems as well, not the least of which involves his struggle to stay in shape during the offseason.
"Luka, you are a professional athlete. Look at the stat-line last night. He's 20-30 pounds out of shape and still put up 28, 9, and 8. So how do you tell a guy that's been out of shape last year fifth in MVP voting, first-team All-NBA, and say 'bruh you need to get in shape.'
This is flat-out embarrassing for a guy who makes that kind of money that you don't care enough to train in the offseason," said Shannon Sharpe.
Unfortunately, the Mavericks haven't gotten very far in the Luka era so far, with repeated losses in the very first round of the postseason. This go-round, they don't look much better.
The truth is, Luka has not yet shown he can be the guy to take the Mavs to the next level. Until that happens, Dirk Nowitzki's praises may be the only ones he hears for a while.