As is always the case with tall European NBA shooting prospects, Lauri Markkanen is drawing a lot of “the next Dirk” speculation heading into this year’s NBA draft. Even Dirk is aware of this fact by now.
Dirk on Arizona's Lauri Markkanen being compared to him: "If you're a tall guy from anywhere in Europe, the comparison is going to come."— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) June 6, 2017
In fact, many, many folks see him getting drafted in the seven to twelve range.... oh what’s that you say? The Dallas Mavericks are picking ninth this year? Well surely no one is going to go wild with rumors and speculation, right? Oh, that’s what everyone is doing? Oh. Cool.
All joking aside, there is a common belief that Dallas would take a hard look at Markkanen in this draft. He could be the heir apparent to Dirk, they know how to use a big man with his shooting skills, etc. etc.
If you’re someone like me, this speculation is quite frustrating. I’ve not exactly tried to hide my hope that the Mavs add a franchise point guard to pair with the young(ish) frontcourt already in place in Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel. And hey! If you agree with me, I’ve got great news. Dirk agrees with us too!
Dirk calls Lauri Markkanen a "good kid." Adds "he's got a future in this league" but doesn't think "that's the route we're going to take."— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) June 6, 2017
Just before this quote, there was some talk about Dirk talking to Markkanen and people briefly went a little wide in wondering if there was something to read in the tea leaves there. Well... he’s a good kid! That’s all there is to it. In fact, Dirk sees a point guard in the Mavs’ future.
Now before you go wild and get excited about Dallas drafting Dennis Smith, Jr. or Frank Ntilikina, keep in mind that while Dirk is the face of the franchise, he isn’t in the draft room. Dirk may think the Mavs want a point guard rather than another sweet-shooting seven-footer, but that doesn’t mean that’s what Mark Cuban or Donnie Nelson have planned.
Anyway. Markkanen is a good kid, and hopefully he works out for whatever team drafts him. But in the mind of Dirk Nowitzki, that team won’t be Dallas.