March 25-- Steve Nash's ears haven't been burning, but perhaps they should be, considering how often his name has been mentioned in his former stomping ground, Dallas, during the past nine months.
It started last June when the Mavericks pulled off a draft night trade with Atlanta to acquire the rights to Luka Doncic, whom owner Mark Cuban described this way: "Think of a 6-7 Steve Nash that isn't quite the shooter Steve was but is only a teenager. Good vision and can pass."
Mavericks president Donnie Nelson also cited Nash comparisons on draft night, and again on Jan. 31 when the Mavericks completed the seven-player, two-pick trade with the Knicks, and Nelson said Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis have similarities to the late-90s, early 2000s Mavericks duo of Nash and Dirk Nowitzki "except much bigger," at 6-foot-7 and 7-3, respectively.
And then there is the fact that Doncic's agent, BDA Sports founder Bill Duffy, also was Nash's agent. Duffy told The News in June that Doncic and Nash have similar basketball I.Q.s and innate feels for the game.
Until now, Nash's opinion of Doncic largely has been unknown because 45-year-old Nash, now a Golden State Warriors player development consultant, keeps a low profile and rarely does interviews. The News, however, caught up with Nash at Oracle Arena moments after he had an on-court reunion with Nowitzki and fellow late-90s, early 2000s Maverick Michael Finley, and before Dallas beat the Warriors by 35 points behind 21 points by Nowitzki and an Doncic's sixth triple-double.
"Shew," Nash said when asked about Doncic. "He's phenomenal. Just an incredible basketball player. Skill. Ability. Size. Feel. He can do so many things on the basketball court and has such a skill-set that's so great and versatile."
Then Nash took his appraisal of 20-year-old Doncic a step further.
"He's an incredibly unique player, historically, already, at a young age," he said. "As far as his uniqueness and accuracy and ability to make plays off the dribble with his size? We just don't see that. Especially at his age."
Nash was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7, along with another former Mavericks point guard, Jason Kidd, who in December told The News after his first live look at Doncic: "He's way beyond being 19 years old (Doncic turned 20 in February), just his feels and his mannerisms, always in control. I think he really understands the game. He's got a great basketball I.Q."
So now two of the greatest Mavericks point guards in history have weighed in and another, Derek Harper, regularly extols Doncic's greatness during Fox Sports Southwest broadcasts.
There opinion is unanimous: Doncic is special.
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