Particularly since he has the basketball in his hands so much when he’s on the court.
Doncic finished last season shooting just 71.3 percent from the charity stripe. Coach Rick Carlisle said he anticipates the 6-7 point guard being much more proficient at the line this season.
“He’s going to be better this year just because he’s got a year under his belt,” Carlisle said. “He had an amazing summer of preparation, which he didn’t have last year.
“Last summer was really about rest for him — coming off the multiple European championships and all the high frequency of games. Just having a year of experience under his belt is going to be a big plus. Also, I believe that the roster that we have here has more depth than last year’s. I think all those things will factor into him continuing to develop into one of the best players in the world.”
In addition to his free-throw shooting, Doncic shot 42.7 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from the 3-point line. Carlisle expects improvements in those departments as well.
“He’s a better shooter and he’s put a lot of work into this summer, a lot of reps, a lot of attention, a lot of focus,” Carlisle said. “I don’t have any doubts that he’s going to be vastly improved this year at the free-throw line.
“He gets there a lot. Generally, the more guys shoot, the better they’re going to shoot, because you get more feel and more reps.”
YOUNG PLAYERS DOING WELL
After two days of training camp, Carlisle lauded the play of Jalen Brunson, Ryan Broekhoff and Justin Jackson.
“Those guys are young, but they don’t play like they’re young,” Carlisle said. “They all play like veterans.
“The guys that are young are working through their young stuff and just some of the learning that takes place, some of the mistakes that young guys make. So we’ve got to be patient with them and keep encouraging them.”
Broekhoff and Brunson are each entering their second NBA season, while Jackson will be entering season number three.
“Look, Brunson’s a veteran — I don’t worry about him at all,” Carlisle said. “He’s going to be ready when the gun goes off. The same thing with Jackson, and with Broekhoff. These guys are pros.
“They’re all from great programs in college. Broekhoff’s been playing overseas for a while. That’s one thing I like about this group is that there’s an element of youth and an element of experience and an element of guys that really are committed to being team guys, so it’s a very good group.”
DAY TWO REPORT
The second day of training camp on Wednesday went off without a hitch. Most of the talk centered on guard Delon Wright, who continues to deal with a hamstring injury.
“We had another very good day,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Wright is still limited, but doing a little bit more each day.
“The hope is that he keeps progressing. Maybe sometime later on this weekend or early next he’ll get back into some contact stuff, but there’s no set timetable for that. “
Carlisle described the practice sessions as hard and aggressive.
“Again, the same emphasis as yesterday,” he said. “A lot of work on defense. We’re working on offense, too, but the defense is the big priority.”
Forward Justin Jackson said the practice sessions have been very competitive.
“Guys are definitely pushing each other, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Jackson said. “It’s always good to get back on the court. And as a new team with a bunch of new guys kind of learning how each other plays and figuring out, picking and choosing your own spots, it’s been a good first two days.”
Load management has been all the rage in the NBA recently.
That’s where teams intentionally sit players during calculated games in order to not extend them, or to preserve them for the playoffs. The practice is usually done when a team has a back-to-back or a large stretch of games that’ll be played during a short period of time.
“My thoughts are that players need the right amount of work and the right amount of rest,” Carlisle said. “That’s why they hire us and put us in positions of responsibility to work with that. We’ll figure all that out.”
Carlisle has never been prone to playing his players, on average, a substantial amount of minutes. And he doesn’t see that changing this season, either.
“One of the reasons now we need to build a deep roster is so that hopefully we don’t have too any players averaging more than 30 minutes. If you keep guys minutes reasonable, then back to backs aren’t that big a deal. A lot of this stuff you evaluate on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis and right now after two days we’re watching everybody very closely.”
NO MORE TWO-A-DAYS
Back in the day, many teams used to sprinkle in a few two-a-day workouts during training camp. But coach Rick Carlisle has gone away from that practice.
“I don’t think we did any last year either or the year before or the year before,” he said. “More teams are going to exclusively single practices for health reasons.
“I’m not going to put (guard J.J.) Barea out there twice a day — or (forward/center Kristaps) Porzingis — because it doesn’t make any sense. We just got to structure practices so we can get everything done that we need to get done in one section per day. So far we’re making good progress.”
LEADERS ARE PLENTIFUL
Now that players like Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris are no longer with the Mavs, who will be the new leaders of the team? That’s an issue, Carlisle said, that will not be an issue.
“It’s a high character group of skilled winners,” Carlisle said. “That’s the way I see this group. We have a lot of leadership capabilities.
“A lot of these guys are playing together for the first time, so those things take some time. There will be several guys that will rise to the opportunity to be leaders on this team. It won’t necessarily all be the star players. We got some guys that have great qualities in that area who you may not consider as household names.”
Although Mavs management had already said he wouldn’t play at all last season, forward/center Kristaps Porzingis was tempted to break ranks and try and play.
The reason: Porzingis wanted to play with Dirk Nowitzki, who wound up retiring at the end of the season after playing all 21 of his historic NBA seasons with the Mavs.
“I was super tempted to play for the last 10-15 games of the season once I got traded here,” Porzingis said. “Yeah of course that would have been great (to play with Nowitzki), but I’m glad I had the chance to play against him. That was also an experience. He was one of my idols growing up, and to be able to guard him and score on him — but he also scored on me more than I scored on him. But just to have that experience was pretty awesome.”
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 2, 2019
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) October 2, 2019
NEW PODCAST! @SkinWade and I are ready for some basketball. We waste literally no time before getting down to business. The league is wide open. Media Day happened. How does THJ fit in? How will this team play? Why are a ton of 3s good? Hope you enjoy! https://t.co/Lub1Kz8mbY
— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) October 2, 2019