With the NBA’s restart fast approaching, it’s time to catch up on where Mavericks’ players stand after what will be more than four months between basketball games. With that in mind, Mavs.com will supply a series on each player on the roster, what they did before the break, and what they must do if the Mavericks are to make a deep run in the playoffs. Next up is Luka Doncic.
The facts: It’s no secret that Luka Doncic is one of the best players in the world. That was proven when, in just his second year in the NBA, he wound up as a starter in February’s All-Star game. With Doncic, the stats tell the story of a 21-year old with unique skills and an uncanny ability to simply take over a game at a moment’s notice. Doncic enters the restart of the season first in the NBA in triple-doubles (14), fourth in assists (8.7), sixth in scoring (28.7) and 19th in rebounding (9.3). In other words, he’s one of those rare talents who has made a living out of filling up the stat sheet.
Contract status: Luka Doncic is in the second year of his rookie contract that pays him $7.7 million this year, $8 million next season, $10.2 million in the 2021-22 season, and a qualifying offer of $13.3 million in 2022-23.
Pre-hiatus highlights: To put it bluntly, Luka Doncic is a certified walking highlight reel. Anyone will be hard-pressed to find a game where the second-year point guard didn’t have fans ooohing and aaahing about some breathtaking play that he was able to masterfully execute. Doncic is an entertainer in sneakers who is ballet-like on his feet, and is known to drive a stake through an opponent’s heart. In the Mavs’ final game on March 11 before the season was suspended, Doncic collected 28 points, six rebounds, nine assists and two steals as Dallas used a 29-12 surge in the fourth quarter en route to upending the Denver Nuggets, 113-97.
How he can help the Mavericks make a deep playoff run: Since the ball will be in Luka Doncic’s hands the lion’s share of the time, what he does with it will go a long way in determining how deep of a playoff run the Mavs will be able to make. Doncic can obviously score with the best of them, rebound with the best of them, and distribute the ball with the best of them. In essence, he has a plethora of ways in which he can defeat an opponent. “He can go for 30 or he can create a 30-point night for his teammates by manipulating how you’re defending him,” Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton said. “For being a young player, that’s normally a skill you develop later on as someone running the point. For him to have it already is really impressive.” After Doncic tagged Chicago for 38 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on Jan. 6, Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen left the court very impressed with the Mavs’ young superstar. “He can do so many things,” Markkanen said. “It’s crazy how high his confidence is and where that can get you. Obviously, he’s really special.”