Last season, Luka Dončić got tagged for 16 technical fouls in the regular season.
When the Mavericks successfully got one of those rescinded, it meant that the superstar point guard fell just under the cut line of getting suspended for one game for being too combative with the referees.
The league gives you 15. On the 16th, you are suspended for a game.
At the start of training camp, Dončić said he was making it his personal point of emphasis to do a better job of restraining emotions on the court.
So after four preseason games, how’s he doing?
“It’s better, but it’s only preseason,” he said Tuesday. “Now the real deal starts, so we’ll see then how it looks.”
He admitted that being calm, cool and collected on the court is not exactly something that comes naturally for him.
“It’s hard, but it’s something I have to do,” he said. “When you have to do it, it’s not hard, right? That’s how we say it in our country.
“But it’s a part of the game I need to control better. And I think it’s going better.”
The Mavericks have tried to work with Dončić, who at 22 is entering his fourth season. He’s understanding that getting a technical foul, on average, every fourth or fifth game can create an unwanted reputation for a player.
Jason Kidd was mostly an even-handed competitor during his playing days. But he hasn’t felt the need to school Dončić when it comes to controlling emotions.
“He had already had a plan in place,” Kidd said. “I didn’t have to go too deep with that plan of my own. He’s ready. As you could see, he didn’t say too much to the referees or complain (in preseason).”
Kidd did make a point to illustrate that often arguing with the officials is little more than wasted effort.
“He could use some of that energy for the fourth quarter,” Kidd said. “It points to his maturity. He’s going in the right direction.
“He understands what everybody’s saying outside. And I think he doesn’t like that and wants to fix that. That’s a part of development and he’s doing a great job up to this point. And we’ll hold him accountable for his plan.”
Dreaded words: It hasn’t been a topic through the preseason, but Kidd was asked on Tuesday about the possibility of load management for Kristaps Porzingis.
His response should be music to Mavericks fans’ ears.
“We haven’t talked about load management all camp,” Kidd said. “That word has not popped up in camp. So, to give you an honest answer, I don’t know, because we haven’t talked about load management.
“He feels great. I think he’ll tell me . . . but that’s something we’ll have to come back to. In today’s game, that’s a very (common) word.”
Usually, it’s reserved for older players. But in Porzingis’ case, his multiple leg injuries for the past four years are something that probably should be monitored.
“I think the big thing is keeping a pulse on how he’s feeling and how can we keep him fresh and healthy and then go from there,” Kidd said. “And then there’s going to be times this season when he probably does have a game off. That’s just the nature of today’s game. We’ll deal with that when it comes.”
Green contract extended: The third season on swingman Josh Green’s rookie-scale contract was picked up by the team on Tuesday, the Mavericks announced.
The deal for the 18th pick of the 2020 draft is worth a shade over 3-million for the 2022-2023 season.
And Kidd said that the Australian will have opportunities to start earning that money soon.
“This is almost like his rookie season,” Kidd said. “We’ll give him minutes to play. We’re not judging those minutes, good or bad. But we need to know how he’s doing on the development side.
“He’s a young player and didn’t get to play a lot last year. Hopefully we can get him in early and see what we have. We really like what we see from Josh on both ends of the floor. That’s awesome that he got extended.”