Luka Doncic impresses in Mavericks preseason debut

DALLAS -- Luka Doncic's performance in his preseason debut provided some glimpses of the unique skill that persuaded the Dallas Mavericks to trade up to draft the European teen star.

Doncic, the No. 3 pick in the draft, scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 30 minutes during a 116-63 victory Saturday night over the Beijing Ducks.

"It was great to be out there," said Doncic, who also grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots. "It's been a long time since I played a game, so I'm really happy to be here. Always the first game, you're a little bit nervous -- new team and everything. I think everything went well."

The 6-foot-7 Doncic made a few dazzling plays off the dribble, something the Mavs are expecting on a consistent basis as he serves as one of their primary ball handlers despite playing mainly power forward.

His first bucket was a layup after he grabbed a rebound and went coast to coast. His first assist also came after pushing the ball in transition before feeding trailer Maxi Kleber for an open 3.

Doncic's most memorable play of the night was a running, one-legged bank shot off after going behind his back on a drive.

The 19-year-old finished with only two assists, but his excellent vision was displayed on several passes that didn't lead to baskets for teammates.

"He plays such a balanced and pure game," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said before the game. "He's really a pass-first guy by nature. If anything, we'll have to prod him to be more aggressive and score more, but we'll see."

Doncic was 3-of-4 from 3-point range against the Ducks, supporting the belief of Dallas' front office and coaching staff that he's an above-average NBA shooter despite mediocre 3-point percentages for Real Madrid, which often counted on him to create late in the shot clock.

Doncic hit a pair of 3s on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter, launching the second from several feet behind the line.

"I won't say it's going to be easy for him, but he's going to make an impact," said Mavs point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who had 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and six assists in 26 minutes.

The biggest flaw in Doncic's performance were his four turnovers, some of which came when he tried to get a bit too creative with his passes.

"We've got to eliminate the unforced turnovers," Carlisle said. "There were some of those, but he's going to help us in many areas. I thought he played very well."