Dirk Nowitzki expects Mavs to be ‘a lot better than last year’ with DeAndre Jordan, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks icon Dirk Nowitzki is expecting his team to bounce back after two seasons mired in the cellar of the Western Conference. The 40-year-old Nowitzki decided to return for his 21st season, hoping to go out in a winning note after struggling with injuries the past two years.
“I think we should be a lot better than last year,” Nowitzki said, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com. “That’s not a secret.”
The team added an important cog in DeAndre Jordan, who previously flirted with the idea of becoming a Maverick, only to infamously walk it back after being “barricaded” by his L.A. Clippers teammates.
“I think DeAndre should be great for what we do for our system,” Nowitzki said. “When you’re in coach (Rick Carlisle’s) system the (center position) has a great roll presence, a great rim presence on both ends.
“And there’s obviously not a lot (of centers) that are better at that – he might even be the best at that in the league. He’s a runner, he’s a rim protector, he’s a roller, he finishes as high above the rim as anyone, so we’re really looking forward to start working with him.”
The Mavs also made a splash in the NBA Draft, rolling the dice on the first trade of the evening and riding up a couple of spots to snag European sensation Luka Doncic, which could set up the ultimate passing of the torch from one international great to anonther.
“Obviously we’ve put a lot in Luka’s basket, so hopefully he’s going to develop nicely,” Nowitzki said. “I think he’s got all the tools. He’s smart, he’s already got a great basketball IQ for 19 years old. So hopefully he’s going to bring a lot to the table.”
Nowitzki wouldn’t rule out a potential return past his record 21st season with the same team, eclipsing Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, noting all is in the cards if his body responds well enough to the toll of a strenuous 82-game regular season.