Mavs Carlisle, "I Wouldn't Trade Luka Dončić For Anybody"

Mike Fisher
September 30, 2019 - 1:56 pm
coach Rick Carlisle

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) - Rick Carlisle knows the value of special players, having been a Larry Bird teammate and having coached the likes of Reggie Miller, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki. And it is with that background that at Monday's Media Day to start Dallas Mavericks training camp, the coach proclaimed, "I wouldn’t trade Luka Dončić for anybody.''

Carlisle is not a man given to hyperbole, so again, this statement comes with a great amount of gravitas. Carlisle, who supervised guard Dončić to a tremendous first season in the NBA last year that led to the Slovenian sensation earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors, did not hesitate putting Luka's name among the greats with whom he's been associated.

 “He’s the point guard,'' said Carlisle, settling some of the debate about what exactly the "position-less'' Luka's role might be. "He’s unusual. He’s a very unique point guard. We haven’t seen a guy exactly like him ever in the NBA.”

The Mavs are counting on Dončić, 20, along with Kristaps Porzingis, who is set to make his Dallas debut this season after last February's blockbuster trade with the Knicks and a summer of rehab, to take the baton from the retired Dirk Nowitzki.

Carlisle raved about Dončić’s ability to do exactly that, to make his teammates better, comparing his impact to Bird, with whom Carlisle played on the Boston Celtics in the ’80s.

"He has,'' Rick said, "a savant-like ability.''

Dončić played in 72 games last season, averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, six assists and 1.1 steals over 32.2 minutes per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the floor, 32.7 percent from 3-point range and 71.3 percent from the free-throw line.

The Mavs won just 33 games last season and have missed the playoffs three years in a row. It is Luka's intention to change that. And all he has to, really, is live up to Carlisle's evaluation.