The Luka Doncic content machine is operating at peak performance after the sophomore phenom detonated for 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists while sticking one of the most iconic daggers in the Clippers as time expired in Game 4.
A little over a week ago, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was ahead of the curve when he brought Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic on The Woj Pod to discuss a a multitude of things, including the current talk of the sports world, Luka Doncic.
After riffing about Dragic’s NBA and European career, and the unlikely European Championship he and Doncic won with the Slovenian national team, the conversation naturally progressed to the two friends’ relationship. Dragic even revealed the first time he met Doncic while he played with Doncic’s father on the Slovan club team in the Adriatic League:
I remember every time we’d play at home, Luka would be a ball boy. He always had a sandwich in his hand or a basketball.
Doncic’s father, Sasha, was the team captain, and Dragic mentioned how 6-year-old Luka would always get shots up during game breaks, and he could see Doncic had a natural touch even then.
The conversation then touched on the differences between European and American basketball, and how creativity and flair is cultivated overseas. Dragic was quick to point out how Doncic stole the between-the-legs pass from him but quickly pivoted to Doncic’s flourishing under pressure:
You know, with Luka, even we were playing Europe basketball, he was always having fun. That’s one thing that, you know, even in the clutch moments, he was always smiling. He never feels the pressure. Never. It’s something that amazed me. He never feels the pressure. He always comes there like he’s outside with his friends playing a pickup game. That’s how he’s playing and why he’s so successful because, you know, he’s got that confidence that he can do whatever he thinks.
Dragic also shared a moment on their Slovenian national team when he knew Doncic was destined for greatness:
To see a young, 17, 18 year-old-player who is not afraid..and let’s say, for example, the game against Latvia. He played pick and roll, and Porzingis switched on him, and he just took the ball and said ‘Hey spread out, I’m gonna play him one-on-one’. And I was like woah, woah, this is it’. He went right at Porzingis, scored on him and gave him that look. And I said, ‘oh man, this kid is going to be something special’.
Wojanrawski then asked Dragic about the pre-draft critics and what he said to people who asked about Doncic before the 2018 draft:
Every time they came back with a topic like ‘Oh, he’s not athletic enough. He looks slow.’ But I would always try to tell them, ‘Yeah but his IQ and how he uses his body and his dribbling. He’s always a threat to score or to make a pass’. Basically, he’s making the players better around him, and you cannot teach that.
Dragic then talked about Doncic’s motivation and not being the first overall pick in the draft:
That makes him an even better player. Because you know when someone is doubting you, you want to prove them wrong. Luka was really thinking about that and try to prove to people he should go number one.
The whole podcast is worth a listen as Dragic also shared his insight on European basketball as well as the NBA with his time in Phoenix, Houston and Miami. He even talks about his time playing with Steve Nash in first few seasons in the NBA. Even more, Dragic calls Jimmy Butler his favorite teammate. Give it a listen as you continue to revel in the Mavericks’ game four win.