Heat guard Goran Dragic not surprised by Luka Doncic proving doubters wrong
Mavs rookie Luka Doncic’s meteoric rise to stardom has impressed a lot of NBA executives and pundits of the game, yet one person who is not shocked by his impact for the Dallas Mavericks is Slovenian national team mate Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat.
“He doesn’t surprise me,” Dragic told EuroHoops. “I’ve known him since he was a kid and we’re together until now with the national team. It’s nothing new.
Some were skeptical because of his EuroLeague background but he proved them wrong.”
It was Doncic who helped Dragic to his first ever international gold medal and a rousing retirement after winning it all during EuroBasket 2017, as the veteran point guard led the effort with the support of a rising talent that would soon embark in a EuroLeague MVP season with Real Madrid before hearing his name called in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Many doubted Doncic’s prowess as a basketball player due to his lack of experience at the speed of the American game, still under the stigma of Europeans lacking physicality and developing an NBA-ready body — struggles that players like teammate Dirk Nowitzki and even Kristaps Porzingis had to endure during their first few seasons in the league.
Yet Doncic had played against grown men at the pro level and even thrived against them in international competition and playing as a starter for Real Madrid, one of the powerhouses of European basketball.
The skill and undoubtable craft to his game has shown very quickly this season, putting himself at the forefront of the Rookie of the Year race, averaging 17.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and helping the Mavs to a 14-11 record after being one of the bottom-dwelling teams in the West last season.