LeBron James : Mavs EXCLUSIVE: Edy Tavares on Luka Doncic ‘LeBron James’ Prediction & More

LeBron James : Edy Tavares on Luka Doncic ‘LeBron James’ Prediction & More

 

LeBron James  : Despite being the smallest nation to ever participate in the FIBA World Cup, Cape Verde accomplished its first victory ahead of a matchup against Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic and his Slovenia squad LeBron James.

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The leader of Cape Verde’s team, Edy Tavares, is quite familiar with Doncic. The two were teammates during Doncic’s final season with Real Madrid before declaring for the NBA Draft. Tavares spoke with DallasBasketball.com in an exclusive interview ahead of Wednesday’s matchup. 

Tavares, who played with Doncic during the 2017-18 season, has always been impressed with his potential and envisions him soon being the best player in the world. 

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“I think he still can do more,” Tavares said of Doncic’s potential. “I think other people didn’t see the potential that Luka has. He has so much talent that he can do whatever he wants. I think Luka’s going to be the best player in the world soon because he’s special.”

Before Doncic reached the NBA, Tavares would tell evaluators that he sees the Slovenian superstar as a new LeBron James. With Doncic’s ability to score at will and make highly difficult passes at his size on the perimeter, Tavares was confident in the comparison.

“I think when I come back from the NBA, when they ask me, I said, ‘This guy is like LeBron James.’ The guy has everything,” Tavares said. “He can pass the ball. He can do anything he wants. They thought I was fooling them, but I think now they see what he can look for.”

By defeating Venezuela on Monday, Cape Verde achieved its first ever win at the FIBA World Cup. The team represents the smallest nation to participate in the event with a population of roughly under 600,000. 

“We celebrated on the first day we made the World Cup, to play the first game and second game, we made the first victory,” Tavares said. “That was our goal, so I was going to focus on and pass to the next round. It was super nice, super emotional to get the first win in our history. It’s nice, but we have a bit more to achieve.”

 

“I’m going to try to do my best to be ready, to be aggressive, to be aware for anything he does,” Tavares said of matching up against Doncic. “I’m going try to do my best to stop him. It’s not gonna be easy, but we must be ready for everything because he has so much talent on offense that you don’t know where it’s going to come from, but we have to stay focused in general.”

After achieving such an emotional high as Cape Verde managed to do with a historic first win, Tavares sees it being vital for the team to continue to establish consistency to better control games compared to what occurred in the 

“I think we had more consistency than in the first game,” said Tavares when asked about what fueled the win against Venezuela. “I think we lost only 11 goals, so we have only 11 now, or 10. I think that was the key for us to control the game and to have a chance to win in the last minute.”

While some commentary has declared Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Canada as the best player in this year’s World Cup, Tavares made an unprompted declaration that Doncic deserves that recognition. Containing a player of that magnitude will present a challenge. 

“Luka is the best player in this World Cup,” Tavares said. “It’s going to be tough to stop him. Sometimes we have to foul to try to stop him. It’s not going to be easy, but we’re going to try to use it as much as we can, but we know we can do as much. “

Even after Tavares faces Slovenia at the World Cup, there will be another upcoming matchup between him and Doncic. The Mavs will play an exhibition match against Real Madrid on Oct. 10. 

“I think it will be amazing, especially for him to have his team in Madrid where he, where he was born as a best basketball player, when he turned into a superstar,” Tavares said. “It’s going to be fun for him. It’s going be a nice game for us and for Madrid fans.”

When reflecting on his time playing with Doncic, Tavares highlighted how exciting it was to play with a guard that can accomplish the unexpected on the court. It requires a big man such as himself to always be prepared for any possibility. 

“You always have to be ready as the big man because he can throw a pass whenever he wants,” Tavares said of Doncic. “He can throw a pass when you don’t expect it. You just gotta be ready for him because he can find you. He can do whatever he wants because he has so much vision on the court that nobody has.”

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