Luka Doncic is accomplished — he won the EuroLeague MVP at age 19 and was playing big minutes in the second-best league in the world last season. Expectations for him are high in Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki did nothing to tamp those down Tuesday.
In an appearance on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan’s Ben & Skin Show, Nowitzki heaped praise on the rookie.
“Yeah, he’s been here now for a week. He’s scrimmaged every day and works hard. I’m really liking what I’m seeing. He’s incredible with the ball for a big guy. He’s unbelievable in pick and roll play. His court vision is already unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I saw from a 19/20-year-old. He’s a good shooter when he has time and I think he’s going to be great for us for a long, long time.”
Is he better than Nowitzki at that age?
“Oh yeah. I could shoot a little bit but I never had the court vision … the savviness that he brings to the game. Just the way he already reads the pick and roll … all the stuff like Chris Paul and these guys do … He’s going to be fun to watch especially with bigs like DeAndre (Jordan) and Dwight (Powell) rolling to the rim … He’s going to pick defenses apart and it’s going to be fun to watch.”
No pressure, kid.
That said, Doncic could be in the mix for Rookie of the Year if he gets the touches and loves up to the hype.
Dallas is going to rely on some young talent this season — Doncic and second-year player Dennis Smith Jr. — but this has the potential to work with Harrison Barnes spacing the floor and slashing, DeAndre Jordan rolling to the rim, and Nowitzki being Nowitzki. This team could be a lot more interesting, a lot more entertaining, and flat-out better than many realize. (If they weren’t in the brutal West we might be more excited, but in a gauntlet of a conference how many games can they really win?)
Dwane Casey reportedly holds a grudge toward Raptors president Masai Ujiri for firing him.
Casey got revenge last night, coaching the Pistons to a win at Toronto. Casey called two quality plays in the final seconds, the latter producing Reggie Bullock‘s game-winner.
Keith Langlois of Pistons.com:
A Toronto reporter asked Blake Griffin if it gives Pistons players a degree of confidence in their coach when he gives them those tools to win games.
“We know that. This isn’t like we just discovered this for the first time today,” he said. “We’ve put in plays like that all the time in practice. He demands execution and we executed. Maybe to Toronto fans – or certainly their GM, maybe – it was a surprise. But not to us.”
The win had to be gratifying for Casey. Having his star player take up his greater cause must even more satisfying.
NBA scoring is exploding. Defenses are getting less leeway for physicality. Offenses are more efficient than ever. Pace is at its highest mark in decades.
Except for the Jazz last night.
Utah scored just 68 points in a 50-point loss to the Mavericks. And even that undersells the Jazz’s offensive woes. They played reasonably fast, getting 101 possessions. Their offensive rating – 67.3 – shows just how inept they truly were.
In all, Utah shot 42% on 2-pointers, 17% on 3-pointers and 63% on free throws and committed 22 turnovers.
The Jazz set several milestones for offensive futility:
- Fewest points in a game (68) in nearly two years (68 by Hawks vs. Jazz on Nov. 25, 2016)
- Lowest Basketball-Reference estimated offensive rating in a game (68.8) in more than three years (68.2 by Grizzlies vs. Warriors on Nov. 2, 2015)
- Fewest points in a second half (22) in nearly five years (19 by Rockets vs. Thunder on Jan. 16, 2014)
Comparing across eras can be difficult, but here’s one measure: The Jazz scored 68 points in a season teams are averaging 110.4 points per game.
That output relative to average – -42.4 – is one of the lowest of all-time:
Kevin Durant and Draymond Green are feuding, the possibility of Durant leaving the Warriors in free agency next summer hanging over everything.
Now comes Durant’s brother, Tony – intentionally or not – throwing gasoline on the fire. Again.
Tony posted and deleted these comments on Instagram, via Bleacher Report:
Read too much into vague social-media content at your own peril.
But, man, that sure looks like Tony advising Green just to enjoy Durant masking Green’s problems until Durant leaves the Warriors and leaves Green exposed.
Andrew Wiggins keeps besting Nikola Mirotic.
Wiggins won Rookie of the Year over Mirotic in 2015.
In the Timberwolves’ win over the Pelicans last night, Wiggins had the dagger dunk on Mirotic – and made sure Mirotic felt it. Ouch.