Dirk praises Doncic as a better player than his 19-year-old self
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Dirk Nowitzki is impressed with his rookie teammate.

The Dallas Mavericks legend believes that Luka Doncic is already a better player than he was when he entered the league from Europe for the 1998-99 season.

"I could shoot a little bit (at 19), but I never had the court vision, the savviness, and the stuff that he brings to the game (as a 19-year-old)," Nowitzki said on 105.3 The Fan, via ESPN. "Just the way he already reads pick-and-rolls. ... He's going to be fun ..."

Dallas is betting big on the 6-foot-7 guard after trading up in June's draft to select him third overall. With his blend of scoring and playmaking, Doncic could be the Mavs' franchise cornerstone in the post-Nowitzki era.

However, the 40-year-old German believes it's important to ease the Slovenian into the Association as he transitions from playing in Europe to playing stateside.

"Obviously, I don't want to put too much pressure on him," Nowitzki said. "Coming over from a different country, I went through the same thing about 20 years ago. It's tough to adjust to a lot of things: living in a different country, another culture, to a different game, different coaching, different play style. For me, that took a full year. My first year was really, really tough.

"We're going to do everything we can to help this kid develop and have fun and learn so we can see the best Luka here, hopefully in a couple more years. But he's an incredible talent."

With a re-tooled roster, including Doncic and marquee free-agent signing DeAndre Jordan, the Mavericks will hope to contend for the playoffs this season.

The team opens up their preseason Sept. 29 at home against the Beijing Ducks before traveling to China for two games against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Dirk praises Doncic as a better player than his 19-year-old self
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