Luka Doncic has already appeared in MVP voting numbers. This next season, however, presents a clear path to the coveted award for the Slovenian sensation. His previous play certainly shows he’s capable of being the recipient of the illustrious MVP award, and he’s set to lead the Dallas Mavericks once again this season.
Doncic has been nothing short of spectacular since arriving in the NBA. As a rookie, Doncic averaged about 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists per game. He appeared in 72 games and easily won the Rookie of the Year award.
The following season saw a major jump in production. Doncic averaged about 29 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists per game. That means he nearly averaged a 30-point triple-double, which of course is an all-time feat. He then followed that up with averages of about 28 points, eight boards, and nine assists per game.
This past season was the Mavericks’ best in the Doncic era. The team made moves and surrounded Doncic with more talent, and his production was business as usual at the tune of about 28 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists per game.
Of course, there are facets of Doncic’s game that can improve. First off, his overall three-point shooting can be better. He shot 35 percent from deep last season, which is the highest mark of his career. Doncic is a sure bet for a couple of stepback threes per game, but there needs to be more consistency. In addition, his defense can improve as well as learning how to forget quickly when it comes to what he believes to be poor refereeing decisions.
Yes, Doncic is still young, but he’s the best player on a championship-contending team and needs to always set an example as a leader.
Jalen Brunson emerged as Doncic’s number two option after Kristaps Porzingis was traded to the Washington Wizards. Brunson is now with the New York Knicks.
There’s a debate on who the Mavericks’ new number two is. Perhaps it’s Spencer Dinwiddie, who arrived in Dallas in the Porzingis trade. He played a major role in the Mavericks’ late-season success as well as their Western Conference Finals playoff run. Another option is Christian Wood, a true offensive weapon who arrived in a trade with the Houston Rockets. This debate will likely get sorted out early on in the season, but Brunson’s departure certainly creates an even higher backcourt production demand out of Doncic.
From the outside looking in, the Mavericks aren’t spoiled with stars. They don’t have multiple All-Stars like a number of other teams such as the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and so on. Doncic is likely to be the only All-Star, but he’s also likely to have this Dallas team high up in the league standings.
With that being said, the team is still built for Doncic to flourish.
First and foremost, Doncic will get his own buckets. He’s borderline unstoppable when hot. He’s also a silent rebounding machine and will always find open teammates.
Pairing him with a secondary ball-handler proved to work wonders, and that’s what Dinwiddie is. Dorian Finney-Smith has excellent chemistry with Doncic, and he’ll hit plenty of threes from Doncic’s passes. Wood can certainly average upwards of 20 points per game on this team, especially with Doncic setting him up. Finally, another new piece in JaVale McGee is the ideal lob threat on a Doncic offense. Yes, everything runs through the Slovenian star.
A fiery scorer in Tim Hardaway Jr. returns from injury. He’s always a double-digit scoring threat. Then, of course, Doncic will set up other strong shooters off the bench in Maxi Kleber, Reggie Bullock, and Davis Bertans. Dwight Powell may see his minutes diminish with McGee in town, but he also has strong pick-and-roll chemistry with Doncic.
Dallas remains a one-man team in the sense that all success runs through Doncic’s hands, but his own personal production paired with the cast around him will set him up for a historical MVP campaign.