It has been five months since Dirk Nowitzki announced that he would be retiring from the NBA back in April. Nowitzki is a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer when his name is called in 2024 along with Dwyane Wade and Tony Parker if they all decide to stay retired.
This offseason is the first time since 1998, that the Dirk Nowitzki is not the face of the Dallas Mavericks, as he has passed that honor to both Luka Dončić and Kristaps Porziņģis. The Mavericks are banking on both players will be around for along time.
“I really see us being very special on the court and fun to watch. So, I am very excited about it,” Porziņģis shared with the media in Dallas back in February.
Last season, Porziņģis was out with a torn ACL injury, while Dončić was tearing up the league in route to winning the Rookie of the Year Award. Averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. The two will have some pretty big shoes to fill with Dirk stepping away from the game, but both seem to be up for the challenge.
What has been the vibe around the team since Dirk will not be suiting up this season?
On Friday Morning via Instagram Live, Dallas Mavericks Assistant coach, Darrell Armstrong shared that the team has been.
“The vibe of the team has been very upbeat, and we are going to surprise a lot of people this season,” said Armstrong. I can’t wait to see the combination of Luka and Kristaps in action this season.”
Armstrong is a former 15 year veteran in the NBA including two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. During his career, Armstrong averaged 9.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 4.0 assists.
Last month Luka received some high praise from Hall of Famer Dr. J. He believes Dončić is an excellent replacement for Dirk Nowitzki.
” Luka is probably not top-ten yet. He has one year in the league and had a great year as a rookie and was phenomenal. Sometimes it could happen quickly for a guy years one through three more so in my estimation when a guy is in the league, said Dr.J.
His fourth and fifth year is when you really what you got. The fact that he started playing professionally at age 16 or 17 hasn’t hurt him so he might be an early bloomer than some of the guys, who go to the universities in the U.S. The one and done guys, but he had a great season, and he is a great replacement for Dirk.”
This weekend both Dirk and Luka will be participating in Dirk’s foundation annual tennis event on Sunday, September 15th.
Dirk Nowitzki, was a guest on the Ben and Skin podcast and talked about trying to scout Luka’s tennis game this weekend’s event, but the Mavericks had to scrimmage and couldn’t meet up with Dirk.