Luka Dončić is perhaps the most exciting young player on the NBA courts today and has made a blistering start to his time with the Dallas Mavericks, which he started in 2018. In his first season, he wasted no time and won Kia Rookie of the Year.
The twenty-year-old Slovenian forward-guard boasts a career average of 24.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 32.8 minutes per game out of 133 games. All of this comes with the Mavericks.
Can “Limitless” Luka help the Mavericks win the title?
“Limitless” Luka, as some have called him, has put on some blinding performances that will have gotten punters racing to an NBA betting site, and betting on him to win MVP. With him on the side, they may also fancy the Mavericks for the championship, too.
Dončić exudes confidence in his own ability and executes passes and shots that many players wouldn’t even dream of attempting. He doesn’t always pull them off, but it doesn’t stop him trying and using every inch of his remarkable talent to benefit his team.
Dončić shows good footwork, agility, and control of his 6’7” frame, has lots of tricks up his sleeve that he can pull out when the mavericks are on the attack, and displays excellent court sense. But he’s also humble and, despite all his possessive play, unselfish on the court. He looks for his teammates constantly and makes their lives easier by making space for them.
This season he’s shown some brutal form and has established himself firmly as the leader of the Mavericks. Against the Clippers, in game 4 of the Western Conference quarter-finals, he put on his most dominant show yet: 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists, and, for good measure, a three-pointer on the buzzer.
Bookmakers have written off the Mavericks slightly when it comes to their chances of winning the championship. They’ve placed them as the eighth favorites, with odds of +2200, believing the team needs to do some serious defensive work to put themselves in contention for the title.
Of course, one forward-guard doesn’t a team make, and Dončić’s evident talents won’t alone carry the Mavericks to title glory. If the team are to lay their hands on some silverware this season, there are several other players who will be instrumental in making that happen.
Early into the new season, he was on the bench, recovering from surgery, and the team felt it. Now they’ve returned to form with Porziņģis back in the line-up, and he’s been posting career highs. Since February, he’s been averaging 22.2 points.
Opponents have spotted holes in his defensive and offensive game, however. His 7’3” frame means that basic bumps can throw him off balance or disturb his timing. Not only that, but he also struggles to stay with ball handlers on switches, so offenses love coming at him with pick-and-roll plays.
At 7’4”, the Serbian, rotational center of the Mavericks is a real asset.
As some have commented, his mere size alone can force teams to make a substitution, and he’s held players to much less than their usual shooting average when they’re attempting shots within six meters of the rim. He barely has to even jump to dunk a basket and, in spite of his massive frame, he’s very nimble and makes the most of his long body and reach to pick up rebounds.
Marjanović shows intelligent game play and displays reliable handling. He’s not afraid of a free throw, either, and teammates can count on him to put them away and put points on the board. In his time on other teams, he’s been an efficient scorer, but the Mavericks don’t seem to be making the most of his shooting prowess and he’s not scored as much for them, although, at the same time, he’s also not received as much game time as he could do.
Much has been made of the Mavericks’ defensive failings, but the team have been working on it with the addition of Josh Richardson. In his time with the Miami Heat, Richardson proved he’s a solid creator and caught the eye of the Mavericks, who have brought him in as their shooting guard to support Dončić in attack.
This decision strengthens their attacking options, but Richardson has also illustrated he has some real defensive mettle. He’s a superb perimeter defender and is comfortable switching between defending against point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards.
In addition to these defensive traits, he’s also got defensive soul: he puts his heart into his defensive play and makes himself truly awkward for offensive players to get past. His defensive play is also strong and intuitive.
Luka Dončić is a highly capable player and leader within the Mavericks, but the bookmakers don’t fancy the overall team to take the championship. Defensive shortcomings have determined their perspective, but the Mavericks have several other key players who have been performing well and, with a little improvement, could prove them wrong yet.
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