Dirk Nowitzki is equal parts realist and pessimist, with a dash of optimism dropped in from time to time.
He doesn't sugarcoat things and for that reason, his enthusiasm about Mavericks' newcomer Luka Doncic is noteworthy.
To be succinct, the Mavericks legend is a huge fan.
"He's been here now for a week, scrimmaged every day, works hard and I really like what I see," Nowitzki said during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (KRLD-FM) Tuesday afternoon. "He's really incredible with the ball for a big guy, and he's a legit 6-8.
"He's unbelievable in the pick-and-roll. He does, like, over-the-head and between-the-leg passes to cutters. The savviness he brings, the court vision – I couldn't believe what I saw for a 19-, 20-year-old. Unbelievable. He's a good shooter when he has time. I think he's going to be great for us for a long, long time."
High expectations come with the territory when you're the No. 3 overall draft pick. The Mavericks have been on the Doncic bandwagon for years.
Nowitzki knows firsthand about coming to a strange country and having all the pressures that come with being a prized draft pick.
"Obviously, I don't want to put too much pressure on him," Nowitzki said. "Coming over from another country – I went through the same thing about 20 years ago – it's tough. It's tough to adjust to a lot of things – a different game, different culture, different play styles, different coaching. For me, that took a full year. My first year was really, really tough.
"We're going to do everything we can to help this kid develop and have fun and learn so we can see the best Luka here in a couple years. But he's an incredible talent."
Nowitzki has been recuperating all summer from ankle surgery, but he began scrimmaging last week and is gearing up for the third annual Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic on Saturday at SMU's tennis facility. A few tickets remain for the event at the bargain price of $20. Tennis pros Andy Roddick, Mark Knowles, Tommy Haas and actor Boris Kodjoe, as well as several Mavericks and other local celebrities, will be part of the festivities.
After that, it's time for the Mavericks to open training camp Sept. 21.
Nowitzki will be starting his 21st season and will get to watch another European learn the ropes like he did in the late '90s.
"At 19, I could shoot a little bit, but I never had the court vision and savviness he brings to the game," he said of Doncic. "Just the way he reads pick-and-rolls ... he's going to be fun, fun to watch."