The Dallas Mavericks made a draft day trade in 2018 when they sent the Atlanta Hawks the draft rights to Trae Young and a future first-round pick in exchange for Luka Doncic.
No one knew exactly how good Doncic would be, but Dallas needed someone who could help turn the trajectory of the team around. Dirk Nowitzki was nearing the end of his career and Dallas hadn't made the playoffs for the past two seasons.
Nowitzki needed to pass the baton to someone. Could a 19-year-old rookie take on that big of a role and help Dallas get back to winning?
Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki shares serious doubts he had about Luka Doncic
After over five years of being in the league, the clear answer to that question is yes. Doncic has been one of the best players in the NBA for a large portion of his career and has taken the Mavs to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons.
Despite Doncic's elite skill, some didn't always have that same belief in him right away.
Nowitzki was a guest on the ALL THE SMOKE podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson and shared an interesting tidbit about the time after Dallas drafted Doncic.
"We needed a little spark plug to change things," Nowitzki said. "I didn't think it was going to be this kid [Luka Doncic]."
Nowitzki continued to talk about the early stages of Doncic arriving in Dallas, sharing that "I'm not sure that this is going to work. Is he quick enough? Is he athletic enough to go by guys like he has in Europe?"
Nowitzki also said that "there were plenty of doubts from everyone on the team." Dirk said that when Doncic first got to Dallas, some players tried to "test him" by fouling him during scrimmages, and Doncic seemingly didn't fail a single "test" from what Nowitzki said.
Dirk talked about the swag that Doncic carried with him on the court and how much talent he flashed early on.
Although Nowitzki and the rest of the team around him doubted Doncic's game, he quickly proved those doubts wrong.
Doncic has been elite for Dallas this season, and hopefully he helps the Mavs contend for a title.
For all the latest on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.