He’s dotted all the necessary i’s and crossed all the pertinent t’s. In a survey released earlier this month by the NBALuka general managers, even they overwhelmingly said he should win the league’s Most Valuable Player award this season.

So basically, it’s not a matter of if Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic will carry home the coveted MVP trophy this season so he can get this off his bucket list. Or, is it?

Doncic’s name has been synonymous with the MVP award contenders the past three seasons. With him starting his fifth season on Oct. 19 when the Mavs open in Phoenix, will this be the year he finally attaches his name alongside some of the NBA greats if he wins one of the league’s highest individual awards?

“The way he’s playing, he’s always going to be in the MVP conversation,” coach Jason Kidd said. “And I think he will be in that conversation the whole year this year.

“He’s (one of) if not the best player in the world, so I don’t know if year five is a benchmark. He will understand the league better. With his talent, he’s always going to make his teammates better.”

And more than anything else, Doncic is must-see TV and a box office player who fans put off important things to do around the house to come and see play. That’s because they know Doncic will probably do something extraordinary that folks Lukawill be talking about it in the lunch room the next day at work.

After averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and six assists while winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2019, Doncic averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists and finished fourth in the MVP race in 2020. In 2021, Doncic was sixth in the MVP voting after averaging 27.7 points, eight rebounds and 8.6 assists.

And last season, Doncic came in fifth in the MVP derby after he put up staggering numbers of 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game.

Asked his thoughts on being mentioned in the MVP conversation, Doncic said: “Not everybody can say they were MVP in the league in the best league in basketball. But you’ve got to get there.”

Center Maxi Kleber explained that Doncic should always be mentioned in the MVP conversation because he’s absolutely difficult to contain one-on-one, and perhaps even one-on-two, or even one-on-three. The 6-7, 230-pounder with eyes seemingly in the back of his head consistently slices defenders into itty-bitty pieces on a daily basis.

“He can dribble, he can shoot, he can bump into you, he can post up,” Kleber said. “He’s posting up bigger guys. He just has so much talent.

“He’s just having fun with it and that makes it hard to defend because you think you take one move away and there’s no escape and no other move, no counter move, no nothing. And all of a sudden he finds a way to spin out and somehow shoots left-handed over his head and he makes those shots. So, it’s frustrating playing one-on-one.”

In addition, Doncic’s vaunted step-back jumper is as lethal as they come. He said he pulls that impressive shot out of his hat – depending on the game and the situation.Luka

“There’s a lot of factors,” Doncic said. “You’ve got to look at who’s guarding you, if the shot’s going or not.

“There’s a lot to think about, and then decide.”

And then there’s that one-legged fadeaway jumper that Dirk Nowitzki made famous. Doncic has that shot in his bag of tricks, too.

“It just adds another shot that is tough to guard,” he said. “Dirk always did it.

“It’s a fadeaway. It’s tough to block and tough to defend. It just adds another shot.”

So, did Doncic return to Dallas for this year’s training camp after adding something else to his elaborate repertoire? No, because his summer spent practicing and playing for the Slovenian National Team took up the majority of his time.

“I didn’t have much time to do any work,” Doncic said. “I was practicing with the (Slovenian) team, but I’d say winning.

“I had about a week off after EuroBasket (ended for Slovenia on Sept. 15), but I’m good. I was sleeping a lot.”

LukaKidd said international players are sometimes taken for granted and they have go get settled once they come to America.

“We always just judge them on what they do on the floor, but there are families involved in this, animals, whatever it may be,” Kidd said. “When you’re talking about Luka — a couple of dogs to get settled — and sometimes there is some being homesick.

“And Year Five may have that turn where you’re not as homesick and you’re excited about the season. Maybe Year Five is the year he feels (more) comfortable.”

And maybe Year Five is the year Doncic will win the coveted MVP trophy. If he does, that’s something he can finally scratch off his bucket list.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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