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Dirk Nowitzki says 'sky's going to be the limit' for Kristaps Porzingis

From NBA media reports

Injuries and effort. Injuries and effort. Sorry, but anytime someone in or outside the game predicts great things for a young, tantalizing player, those two things – injuries and effort, among a dozen or a hundred potential hurdles – always should be baked into any projections.

That didn’t deter one NBA authority, however, from his prediction that New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis one day will surpass Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki as arguably the best international player in league history. And as Marc Berman of the New York Post writes, this is from someone who knows a thing or two about the Mavericks’ legend:

“He plays a lot more defense than I ever have, I’ll tell you that,’’ Nowitzki told The Post in New Orleans on Friday after the Mavericks beat the Pelicans. “He’s amazing because he’s got great timing with the long arms on the shot blocks coming out of nowhere. Offensively, he shoots it so easily from deep. He’s scary. He’s added more off-the-dribble now, more turnarounds in the post. He’s going to be a walking mismatch for a long time.”

Asked if his career accomplishments will top his own, the 7-foot German said.

“He’s way ahead of the curve. My first year I was struggling straight out of Germany and he had that great rookie year. If he stays injury-free, working like that — and I know he will — the sky’s going to be the limit.’’

Nowitzki, who faces Porzingis in Dallas in one week, had worse scoring averages than Porzingis in each of his first three years. In his third season, Porzingis is now averaging 24.5 while Nowitzki averaged 21.8 points

Nowitzki and Porzingis didn’t get to see each other when their teams were in New Orleans at the same time Friday. But they hooked up in Africa during the NBA’s promotional game in August.

“It was the first time I met him — I’ve met him but I didn’t have time to talk,’’ Nowitzki said. “But we had some drill stations together. He had a few questions about what I see. … He’s a good kid, hard worker — 7-3 with that wingspan and the shot. The sky’s the limit for the kid. He’s going to be great for a long, long time.’

All Porzingis needs to do over the next 15 years or so to breathe down Nowitzki’s neck is close a gap of some 31,000 regular-season and postseason points, appear in 145 playoff games, make it to 13 All-Star Games, win an MVP award (with nine top-10 finishes) and win an NBA championship.