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This new Maverick better be better than this former Israeli star

Sarunas_Jasikevicius_by_Augustas_DidzgalvisDALLAS, Texas - When the Dallas Mavericks signed Gal Mekel out of Isreal to play point guard my first thought was, "Sarunas Jasikevicius".

"No, you're not wrong to compare those two," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told me.

I told him since I am wrong most of the time I appreciated his support.

"Well, one out of every 20," he said.

Jasikevicius was a point guard who tore up the leagues in Isreal, but really made his mark playing for the Lithuanian national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece; no one could handle him during that tournament. Pacers president Larry Bird signed Jasikevicius, and he was with the Pacers when current Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle was running things in Indy.

As a 29-year-old "rookie" out of Maryland, Jasikevicius averaged 7.3 points in '05-'06. His playing time and production dropped, and he was traded the next season. 

He was too slow to guard the perimeter, and had a hard time getting his shot off. The Pacers traded him to Golden State where he never played under Don Nelson. Jasikevicius returned to Europe after the 2006-'07 season.

Carlisle insisted that Mekel is NOT Jasikevicius.

"There are simiarlities but Mekel is stronger and more athletic," Carlisle said. "He was four or five years younger than when Jasikevicius came over. We believe he's a much better defender. My hope is that Gal has a lot of Jasikevicius' qualities. He had a great feel for the game and creating. He was an NBA caliber player. He would have been better had he been on a cotending team where he would have had protection defensively and had some better players to pass it, too."


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