Mavs’ Salah Mejri says Kristaps Porzingis really reminds him of Dirk Nowitzki
Fittingly enough, Nowitzki’s retirement will bring about the dawn of a new European star in Dallas in the 2019-20 season. Kristaps Porzingis will finally make his long-awaited debut for the club following his acquisition from the New York Knicks on the first day of February.
After working out with Porzingis in recent weeks, Mejri cannot help but draw comparisons between the two players.
Mejri spoke to NBA.com writer Dwain Price about the similarities between Porzingis and Nowitzki:
“I worked a little bit with Kristaps one-on-one,” said Mejri, who turns 33 on Saturday. “Maybe I’m the only guy on the team who can play with him, because of his height and length. He’s way taller than (the 6-11) Maxi (Kleber), and people who are going to guard (Porzingis) are 7-footers. He’s long and he’s good. He reminds me of Dirk (Nowitzki), but he’s way longer than Dirk.
“We did one-on-ones a couple of times on the road and here (in Dallas) when he was getting back, and I really loved it. I love competition, I love to do those things. I guess when he’s back here, hopefully I’ll be here and for sure we’re going to play some.”
Of course, Porzingis is far more reminiscent of a younger Nowitzki, who used to be surprisingly athletic and could finish through contact at the rim.
The Mavericks can only hope Porzingis will provide anything close to Nowitzki-level production in his heyday, as the anticipation builds for his return to action.