Nowitzki impressed with Dončić after scrimmages

Luka Dončić will begin his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks. (Reuters pic)

DALLAS: Dirk Nowitzki said he sees tremendous potential in #3 overall pick Luka Dončić after watching him in Dallas Mavericks scrimmages this week.

Dončić, 19, did not suit up for summer league but his work this week impressed Nowitzki.

“He’s been here now for a week, scrimmaged every day, works hard and I really like what I see,” said Nowitzki, who was just six months older when he entered the NBA from Germany.

“He’s unbelievable in the pick-and-roll. He does, like, over-the-head and between-the-leg passes to cutters,” said Nowitzki, who made his comments on Tuesday in a radio interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “The savviness he brings, the court vision – I couldn’t believe what I saw for a 19-, 20-year-old. Unbelievable. He’s a good shooter when he has time. I think he’s going to be great for us for a long, long time.”

The Mavericks acquired Dončić, whom team owner Mark Cuban said was the top prospect on their board and “it wasn’t even close”, from the Atlanta Hawks for the rights to fifth overall pick Trae Young and a future first-round pick.

Dončić, who signed his rookie deal in July, will make a bit more than US$5.4 million (RM22.4 million) in 2018-19. Last year’s third overall pick, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, signed a four-year, US$30 million (RM124 million) deal with club options in the third and fourth seasons.

Nowitzki signed on for a 21st season this summer and will make US$5 million (RM21 million) in 2018-19.

Dončić helped lead Real Madrid to the Liga ACB championship and EuroLeague title last season. The latter competition ended less than a week before the NBA draft on June 21. Dončić has appeared in more than 150 games over the past two seasons.

Dončić will wear #77 for the Mavericks, a number he wore for the Slovenian national team. He wore #7 with Real Madrid.