Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd says Luka Doncic is 'better than Dirk' Nowitzki

Is Luka Doncic the best player to ever wear a Dallas Mavericks jersey?

Head coach Jason Kidd believes so. During an appearance on Dallas radio station 97.1 The Freak's "The Downbeat" on Tuesday, Kidd declared that Doncic is "better than Dirk" Nowitzki.

"Just to appreciate what this young man's doing at the age of 24, (it) is something that Dallas has never seen," said Kidd, who played eight seasons for the Mavericks (1995-1997; 2008-2012) and was teammates with Nowitzki during the Mavericks' 2011 NBA championship run. "I've said this internally: He is better than Dirk. He does things that Dirk could never do, and now is the opportunity of getting the right people around him to ultimately win a championship."

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Kidd was hired as the head coach of the Mavericks in June 2021. From the two and a half seasons as Doncic's coach, Kidd said he's seen enough to know that the Slovenian superstar is "in the atmosphere of MJ, the best to ever do it, LeBron (James), Kobe (Bryant)."

"This young man is 24 and is breaking all the records that stand in front of him," Kidd said. "He's a winner, and his ultimate goal is to win a championship. And he will get there."

Doncic is coming off an incredible three-game stretch, where he scored 73-points in the Mavericks' 148-143 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, the fourth-most points scored in an NBA game. He followed that performance with 28 points in a loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday and a 45-point night on Monday in a win over the Orlando Magic.

Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket past the Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero.
Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket past the Orlando Magic's Paolo Banchero.

Doncic is averaging 34.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.6 assists this season, second in the league in scoring to Philadelphia 76ers reigning MVP Joel Embiid, but his list of career accolades is short of Nowitzki.

Nowitzki was named the Finals MVP after the Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat, four games to two, in the 2011 NBA Finals, in addition to the league MVP in 2007. The 14-time All-Star (2002-2012, 2014, 2015, 2019) was named All-NBA first-team four times (2005-2007, 2009) and was selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. His No. 41 jersey was retired by the Mavericks in 2022 and he was induced into the Hall of Fame in 2023. He finished his career with 31,560 points — sixth on the NBA's all-time leading scorer list — 11,489 rebounds, 3,651 assists, 1,210 steals and 1,281 blocks.

Doncic is a five-time NBA All-Star (2020-24) and was named All-NBA first-team four times (2020-2023). He was named rookie of the year (2019) and made the NBA All-Rookie first-team (2019), but Doncic has never guided his Mavericks out of the Western Conference and to an NBA Finals. The closest they made it was a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2022, where they lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks didn't qualify for the playoffs last season.

Kidd said it's no question that Doncic will hoist the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in his career. He added that he will "not just win one, but he will win multiple when it's all said and done."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jason Kidd: Mavericks' Luka Doncic is better than Dirk Nowitzki