Luka Doncic Wants to Stay in Dallas and 'Follow Dirk's Steps'

Matt Galatzan
October 02, 2019 - 4:18 pm

Jerome Miron - USA Today

DALLAS ( 105.3 The Fan) - Dirk Nowitzki was more than just a hall of fame caliber player on the court. For 21 seasons in Dallas, he cultivated one of the most special relationships that has ever been seen between a player and his community in professional sports. 

From the beginning of his time with the Mavericks franchise, Dirk's unique brand of loyalty and selflessness quickly helped build one of the best locker room cultures in the NBA and established the direction the team would throughout his tenure. 

With Nowitzki now retired, the Mavericks are voyaging into uncharted territory, buoyed by a pair of young stars in Luka Doncic and Kristpas Porzingis, whose combined age is just three years less than Nowitzki himself.

As far as Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle is concerned, that is a scary proposition for everyone with a stake in the direction of the franchise, but it is also an exciting one.

“One thing that’s a little scary but also very exciting is this group of guys, led by Doncic and Porzingis, has a chance to define what Mavericks’ culture is going to be like going forward,” Carlisle said. “Coaches are always involved in that."

Luckily for Carlisle, Doncic has experienced the kind of impact that Dirk had on the franchise's culture and is eager to follow in his footsteps, as he, along with Porzingis, help to cultivate the Mavs new identity. 

“Dirk’s been here 21 years, I want to stay here," Doncic said on Mavs Media Day. "If they want me, I'll be here, so just follow Dirk’s steps."

Part of that new identity these two young players have begun to establish is an unwavering confidence in their unique abilities, and to be fair, that confidence is warranted. 

As the NBA's reigning Rookie of the Year, Doncic is coming off of one of the best rookie campaigns in league history, in which he averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, six assists and 1.1 steals per game. 

Meanwhile, Porzingis has put up numbers that were, in some ways, equally if not more impressive than his teammate, despite being stuck in a less than ideal situation with the Knicks.

In fact, just before he tore his ACL, Porzinigs was averaging a career-high 22.7 points per game, as well as 6.6 boards, and 2.4 blocks per contest, all while shooting a career-high 39.5 percent from three. 

Considering the fact that two players with these kinds of talents and these unique skill sets have not been put on a floor together since Nowitzki was suiting up next to Steve Nash 15 years ago, the possibilities seem endless for what they can accomplish, and if you ask Doncic, everything starts with the playoffs. 

"For sure I want to make the playoffs," Doncic said on Monday. "The whole team is excited for the season, and all of the guys want to make the playoffs, so that's my goal."