DALLAS - Luka Doncic's father says the Dallas Mavericks were the ideal landing spot for his superstar son because of the way the Mavs look at European talent.
"Dallas was the best choice,'' Sasa Doncic says. "They don't underestimate European players. The owner looks at Dirk like a god.''
Sasa is certainly correct about the relationship between Mavs owner Mark Cuban and his involvement in German native Dirk Nowitzki's development into a cultural icon in North Texas and beyond. It's also true, though -- as DallasBasketball.com has noted many times, most recently in our "Step Back'' podcast visit, that Mavs execs like Tony Ronzone (interviewed here) and Donnie Nelson have long developed deep ties with overseas coaches and players and players' families. Indeed, we've speculated that one of the reasons Doncic slipped to the No. 4 slot in the 2018 NBA Draft, where Dallas engineered a trade with Atlanta to bring the Slovenian teenager here, is because the Doncic circle gently suggested to other NBA teams that he'd prefer to land with the Mavs.
"It's important to find the right team,'' Sasa says. "Remember Drazen (Petrovic of Croatia) and (Aleksandar "Sasa'') Djordjevic (of Serbia)? Amazing players but when they came to (the) U.S., nobody gave a damn about them."
Times have of course changed. But Dad Doncic is making the observation that the Dallas Mavericks are instrumental in having engineered the chance. And now Luka - last year's NBA Rookie of the Year and this year one of the shining stars of the league at just age 20 - is about the reap the benefits ... as are the Mavs.