Gal Mekel draws comparison to Ricky Rubio


LAS VEGAS -- Gal Mekel has been a standout performer for the Mavs during summer league play. He’s one of only five players in the league to average at least 12.0 points and 4.0 assists. While making the transition back to America and the NBA game, the 6-foot-3 point guard has been impressive throughout the process.

Second-year swingman Jae Crowder has been one of Mekel’s biggest supporters on the summer league squad. As people are still trying to figure out the kind of player the Israeli guard is, Crowder confidently offered his own player comparison: Ricky Rubio.

“You see him do the trick passes like Rubio,” Crowder said. “He can pass with both hands. That’s very rare amongs point guards around the league.”

Through two games, flashes of Rubio’s game are there with the dynamic passing. Mekel, 25, has shown some unique flair, creativity and improvisation on offense. His court vision is quite impressive for a player who is still trying to adjust to a new level.

“Rubio is a great player,” Mekel said when asked about the comparison to the Spanish guard. “I played against him a few times back in Europe. It’s a nice compliment. Of course I want to be successful like him in this league.”

Mekel has made the most of his opportunity in Las Vegas. Mekel has been able to make an even bigger impact with first-round draft pick Shane Larkin suffering a fracture in his right ankle.

“It’s a great opportunity. He was going to have a great opportunity whether Shane played with us or not,” Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis said. “Now it’s even more so because there’s even more minutes out there.

“We’re really depending on him to be a leader out there and call things out there and get us lined up and help everybody else out.”

While the buzz has centered around the offensive end of the floor, Mathis has been impressed with Mekel’s creativity on the defensive end.

“He’s a very smart and crafty defender,” Mathis continued. “He’s not the fastest guy in the game or the quickest guy in the gym, but he really uses his smarts for his angles on defense.”

Mekel’s ability to read those angles and anticipate the opponent’s next move does give him the ability to mask whatever he is lacking on the defensive end of the floor.

The young point guard floated an impressive lob pass to finish off the team’s shootaround on Tuesday afternoon and that drew the roar of approval of his teammates. It certainly had Rubio-esque quality to it.

“I’m Gal Mekel and I’m trying to help my team,” Mekel said. “That’s it.”

While he appreciates the comparison to Rubio, the guard is working on making his own name in Las Vegas.