Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle provides an update on Luka Doncic's summer league status.

DALLAS –After Thursday’s practice session, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle promptly gave an impromptu update on why rookie guard Luka Doncic hasn’t been able to be involved in any of the team’s live summer league practices.

“He has not participated in a live practice yet because he needs to have his buyout completed with Real Madrid, he needs a FIBA letter of clearance, he needs a physical and he needs to sign his contract,” Carlisle said. “We’re getting close to getting those things done, but we’re not there yet and he has not had a live practice yet. But he will be in Vegas. “

The Mavs arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon and will play their first game in the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 on Friday at 8:30 p.m. CT against the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Just 19 years old, Doncic was considered by many to be the best player in the June 21 NBA Draft. And the Mavs had to quickly make a move in order to acquire his services.

The Atlanta Hawks drafted Doncic with the third overall pick in the draft, and the Mavs drafted Trae Young with the fifth overall pick. The Mavs then immediately shipped Young’s draft rights and a protected 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks for the draft rights to Doncic.

After the trade was consummated, it was as if a parade was about to break out in the Mavs’ draft headquarters. Mavs management know Doncic is a game-changer who they wanted as part of their organization, mainly because of his abilities to do so many prolific things on the court.

Meanwhile, Mavs fans have been anxiously waiting for Doncic to get on the same court with point guard Dennis Smith Jr, who was the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. But that will have to wait until all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed involving Doncic.

In fact, it is not known yet if Doncic will play in any of the Mavs’ summer league games. That prospect is still up in the air.

“He is going to continue to ramp up his work load and there remains a possibility that he could play,” Carlisle said. “But to what percentage I could guarantee that, I just can’t. I’m just not going to go there.

“And remember, this guy just got done playing 10 days ago, or whatever it is. This is the set of facts that we’re looking at.”

The Mavs are also monitoring the rest factor involving Doncic. The 6-7, 218-pounder from Slovenia was the Most Valuable Player of the Final 4 while leading Real Madrid to the EuroLeague title on June 19. The next day, Doncic flew to New York for the NBA Draft, which was held on June 21.

The very next morning – on very little sleep – Doncic left New York and flew to Dallas for a press conference. Shortly thereafter, he flew back to Europe to get some clothes and other belongings, then flew back to Dallas.

Criss-crossing around the world notwithstanding, Doncic averaged 16 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists for Real Madrid last season while being named the EuroLeague’s coveted regular season MVP.

Overall, in the past two seasons Doncic has played in 147 games – 17 games shy of the 164 games played during two NBA regular seasons. But the Mavs, like their fans, must wait for all the critical paperwork to be finalized before Doncic can participate in a live practice or play in a game.

“He’s still (to be determined),” summer league coach Jamahl Mosley. “He did some more shooting today and got his individual stuff going, but he’s still a TBD for us.”

Doncic’s skill set and exceptional talents are valid reasons why Mavs Nation are in a frenzy state of mind. Especially when they imagine him being paired in the same backcourt with Smith, who averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists last season.

“He’s a high IQ guy and you can never have enough of those,” Smith said. “So I’m excited for that as well.”
Once they get on the floor together, Smith promise there will be no problems determining whether he or Doncic will run the offense or play off the ball.

“I made strides towards the end of the year playing off the ball,” Smith said. “I got better playing with it as well.

“I believe we’re both guys that can play with it and without it.”

In other words, Smith is counting the days until he and Doncic get to make some sweet magical music together.

“He did a little bit of stuff today in a non-contact environment, but nothing live,” Carlisle said of Doncic. “So that’s where we are.”

NOTES: Coach Rick Carlisle isn’t focused on all the players that are changing teams while changing the NBA landscape and making life tougher in the Western Conference. “It’s important that we focus on our own situation,” Carlisle said. “That’s the way we’ve got to look at it. I’m very excited about what we have going here and the possibilities that we have going. At this point I can’t mention names or anything else because of the league rules, but we’re setting ourselves up for an exciting year. That’s my feeling about it. This is as exciting as I’ve been in three years.”. . .Mavs summer league coach Jamahl Mosley was impressed with what he got from second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. during the four-day summer league camp in Dallas. “This was from him last year where he picked up things very quickly,” Mosley said. “He’s done a very good job of leading. And I think as a second-year player that has the experience when you have younger guys under you, he’s done a very good job of the leadership role. He’s embracing that.”. . .When the Mavs meet the Phoenix Suns in their summer league opener, rookie point guard Jalen Brunson will come face-to-face with a very familiar face. The Suns have added small forward Mikal Bridges to their roster. That’s the same Mikal Bridges who was Brunson’s teammate when Villanova captured the 2016 and ’18 NCAA titles. Bridges was chosen 10th overall by Philadelphia, but he and a 2021 first-round pick were traded to the Suns on draft night for Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith. Villanova shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (drafted 17th by Milwaukee) and power forward Omari Spellman (drafted No. 30 by Atlanta) made it a banner night for the Wildcats, who had an incredible four players chosen among the first 33 players drafted last month. “It’s awesome,” said Brunson, drafted No. 33 overall by the Mavs. “It’s something that we rarely talked about throughout the year because we were just trying to focus on being the best team we could be. But just to know that how hard we worked to get to this point, it’s definitely special.”. . . Also tonight, the Mavs will be battling Suns center Deandre Ayton, who was the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s draft. . .The Mavs have promoted Michael Finley. Formerly the team’s assistant vice-president of basketball operations, Finley is now the Mavs’ vice-president of basketball operations. . .According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, the Phoenix Suns have the best odds at winning the summer league at 8-to-1. The Sacramento Kings and Charlotte Hornets are next with 10-to-1 odds each, followed by the Mavs and Portland, who are at 12-to-1.

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