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Mark Cuban 'would have traded up in a heartbeat' to draft Kristaps Porzingis

The Mavericks' owner loves the Knicks' third overall pick.

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The Mavericks don't employ Kristaps Porzingis and the odds are they won't ever do so, but hey, a little appreciation of the rookie who's taking New York by storm never hurts anyone.

"It's funny because everywhere I went [after the draft] and dealt with New York basketball fans, they were like, ‘Oh, man,'" Mark Cuban told CBS Sports' Ken Berger. "And I was like, 'No, you don't understand.' We would've traded up in a heartbeat to get that kid. We loved him."

The easy and slightly lazy comparison to make for Porzingis is Dirk Nowitzki, of course. Both are white European 7-footers who can shoot the ball. Porzingis doesn't have a jumper as pure as Nowitzki's, just as Dirk never could jump or move quite like Porzingis has proved able to do. But again, Porzingis is just a rookie and taking the league by storm. You saw in as he nearly single-handedly brought the Knicks back against the Mavericks on Monday.

"When I was 20, I was scared to death out there and had a brutal first year," Dirk said. "He's averaging almost a double-double. He's way better than I was at 20, so the comparison's probably unfair to him."

Porzingis reciprocated, saying this about Dirk.

"He's not the most athletic, and he's not the fastest guy on the court, but somehow, he always gets his shot off," Porzingis said. "He's so smart. When you just watch him play, you see how he tricks the opposing player. ... Those kind of things come with experience. But those are things I can learn from him."

And finally, there's Rick Carlisle, who can also respect what Porzingis has been able to do as a rookie, averaging 14.6 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent from behind the 3-point line, along with nine rebounds and two blocks.

"Porzingis is a special, special player," Carlisle said. "The city of New York has Phil Jackson to thank for that one."