Europeans Rule in the NBA
Dallas Mavericks is one of the NBA teams to introduce skillful Europeans to the league. Let’s check the franchise in which the main stars are two young Europeans, whose game pleases fans of the world’s strongest basketball league more and more.
By the beginning of the 80s, European players and Old World basketball for American fans, functionaries and coaches seemed ridiculous, ridiculous and weak. Indeed, this us what your attitude will be when at the Olympics a team of the US students makes strong teams from other continents look like a bunch of kids.
Everything began to change at the turn of the 80s and 90s. Then Marchulenis, Volkov, Petrovich, Divac, Schrempf, Smits, Raja, Kukoch, Sabonis came to the League. All of them, for various reasons, was just an important option for the team, but not the sole leader and franchise player. Perhaps Drazen Petrovich and Arvidas Sabonis could have become like that, but the life of Yugoslav was tragically cut short in June 1993, and the Lithuanian came to the NBA at the age of 30 and was far from having healthy knees.
The whole thing began in the twenty-first century. Already no one was surprised at the choice of a European, not only in the draft lottery but also in the first three of the talent fair. According to Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrea Bargnani, Joaquim Noah, Danilo Gallinari, Ricky Rubio, Kanter, Valanciunas – in the first 10 years of this century, these players were expected to be great players, but not all of them met expectations. We might assume, that there were some choices even worse.
As is the case with players such as Darko Milichich, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, and Yaroslav Korolev. The scouts who advised these Europeans made a disservice to their clubs.
In the current millennium, the Dallas Mavericks have in fact always been led by immigrants from the European continent. In the period of 2000 to 2014, Dirk Nowitzki was the best in performance. For a year Monta Ellis took his “crown”, but in 2016 the 36-year-old German shook off the rust and regained the championship, but in the next two years Harrison Barnes became the best.
In the summer of 2018, Dallas decided to acquire another high-class European – the Slovenian Luka Doncic, and in the spring of this year, decided to give good assets for the Latvian Kristaps Porzingis, who missed last season due to an injury. And already this offseason, Mark Cuban and the company gave the bigman the maximum contract, showing that it is with this duet from Europe that they see the future of the franchise.
Porzingis is making progress
For many, such a belief in the Latvian was a surprise. No one knew in what conditions he would return to the court. His health was not predictable for the whole way. Mavs took a chance and did not miss it.
Kristaps plays a decent 32 minutes, showing record numbers for block shots and rebounds in his career. Yes, of course, knowing about he might be easily injured, a player of 221-cm, tries to avoid contact, but he is also dangerous at a distance, good at defense. Porzingis did not stop there, he added the famous Harden step-back to his arsenal. It looks very impressive.
What surprises, is his free throw percentage. Over his career, he has almost 80%, but only 67.5% this season. Nevertheless, I am sure this is a matter of time to change it.
Doncic is even better than expected
Luke never stops impressing all basketball fans. He is not scandalous, always respects everyone, broke Lebron’s record and even set as many as four achievements in one match.
Just take a look at his stats: 26.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 9.1 assists. Almost a triple-double per game. Yes, I know that thanks to Russell Westbrook there is nothing surprising here. However, the emotions from these indicators are different. Everyone is tired of Rass’s stat-cheating, and Donchich does it easily, beautifully and, most importantly, without the purpose of compiling such statistics.
“He’s a magician with the basketball and at that size, it’s hard to stop”. This is how Kevin Love described the Slovenian.
Mavs’ start of the season with 5-2 is completely the merit of Luka and Kristaps. Of course, not to forget the defense of Maxi Kleber. We also should take into account how well Delon Wright works for the team. Finney-Smith, Powell, Hardaway, and Curry also contribute. However, these two representatives of Europe are the foundation on which everything is being built. And it’s hard to imagine where Dallas might end up if one of them drop out of the game due to injury.
The Mavericks failed two games, and both are very offensive. At first, Lillard’s insistence forced the judge to reconsider the replay, thanks to which Portland won the victory.
The game against the Lakers evolved in a similar way. Mavs spent the entire game under their control, only in the last quarter allowing the vis-a-vis to catch up and move the game to overtime, where Lakers were better.
However, there shouldn’t be overtime, because Danny Green scored an open three-pointer, which might not have happened if Dwight Howard did not hold Seth Curry. The league then admitted that the Lakers’ bigman fouled in a decisive attack, but the defeat still is in the table.
Rick Carlisle has always been famous for teaching his players a good attack. And thanks to this set of players, an experienced mentor can experiment and implement his ideas to the fullest.
The main disadvantage of the team is the lack of physical condition and the lack of experienced veterans on the bench. The Mavericks lost in the last quarter in five out of seven games, beating only obvious NBA outsiders like Cleveland and New Orleans. There are no special assets in the form of promising prospects or good draft peaks. There will be no free agents in the summer of 2020, but in the summer of 2021, the Hardaway contract will expire, and there will be plenty of worthy candidates for reinforcement. Dallas’s task is to show them all that the organization can achieve victories.