Skip to main content

Dirk or Luka? Former Mavs Forward Shawn Marion Weighs In

Shawn Marion witnessed Dirk Nowitzki at his peak with the Dallas Mavericks, including winning a championship with him in 2011, but did he pick the all-time great forward over Luka Doncic?

As is often the case whenever there are two great players in the league or for a particular franchise, there is always going to be debate over who is better. 

In this instance for the Dallas Mavericks, that debate is between two of the greatest European players to ever grace the court, Hall of Fame forward and 2011 NBA Finals champion Dirk Nowitzki and four-time All-NBA guard Luka Doncic

While that debate is far from being conclusive, that hasn't stopped fans from debating who is better between Doncic and Nowitzki. One player who is more than familiar with the Mavs and is equipped to weigh in on who's better between the European stars is former Mavs forward Shawn Marion. Marion shared his thoughts, though, he had different aspects of the debate where he favored one over the other. 

Luka Doncic Dirk Nowitzki

Apr 9, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) and forward Luka Doncic (77) celebrate during the game against the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center.

"As far as skillset and scoring-wise, yes, [Luka is better than Dirk]," Marion said on SiriusXM NBA Radio. "That's not even a question. As far as what Dirk has done, the longevity and history, no, [Luka isn't better than Dirk]. Dirk is a seven-foot assassin with a fadeaway, but as the whole package, that's not even actually a relevant question honestly. Look at how much Luka is able to do on the floor."

Marion played 16 years in the NBA and was a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA. He played five seasons in the NBA and was on the Mavs team that won the NBA Finals alongside Nowitzki in 2011. 

Nowitzki was a 14-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA, won an MVP in 2007, was the Finals MVP in 2011 and is on the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team. Doncic has made five All-Star appearances and was the 2019 Rookie of the Year. 

Through nearly six full seasons, Doncic has scored 11,070 points and had 3,193 assists plus 3,342 rebounds. In Nowitzki's first six seasons, he scored 9,074 points with 1,055 assists and 3,664 rebounds. 

In 145 playoff games, Nowitzki averaged 25.3 points with 10 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Across 28 playoff games, Doncic has averaged 32.5 points with 7.9 assists and 9.3 rebounds per game. 

A debate can't be fully had until Doncic decides to call it a career. Individually, it's hard to argue with Marion saying Doncic is more skilled, but given the weight NBA championships have in debates, that's clearly one accomplishment he'll need to have on his mantle to have solid footing when debating his career against the best to ever play. 

If Doncic can win a championship, it isn't far-fetched to see him surpassing Nowitzki. Until then, that debate is inconclusive and Mavs fans should feel fortunate to have both players play for their favorite team.