Remember when Luka Dončić was overweight, complained to officials too much, and the Dallas Mavericks’ record was under .500? That is the story of Dončić and the Mavericks in December. Four months – and dealing with Kristaps Porziņģis – after that, the Mavericks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. They have 19 games over .500 with three more to play and claimed one of the best wins of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks won 11 games in March, including consecutive wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers, last week. At home to the Mavericks, they lost with a score of 118-112. Dončić led with 32 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists. His percentage from the field and 3 points were well below his usual standards, but he took over the game in the fourth inning.
In just over two minutes of play, he scored or assisted in every Mavs basket as he re-entered the game early in the fourth half. That span of time brought the Mavs down from one to eight. The Bucks were unable to reduce the deficit by more than six points for the rest of the game.
Dončić only made one goal in the fourth half, but was still able to control the game. He hit the free-throw line, assisted teammates, grabbed rebounds, and showed that not all 9-22 performances should be viewed equally. His fingerprints were all over that game, and most of Mav’s in the second half of this season. They are currently the 4th seed at the Western Conference, and are only one game behind the Golden State Warriors for 3rd seed. Dončić’s early season woes have to face him in the MVP race, so Nikola Jokić and Antetokounmpo should finish the season ahead of him in the vote. However, while Dončić won’t win the MVP, he is gaining ground to become the NBA’s best player.
On the season, Dončić is averaging 28.3 points per game with 45.6 percent shooting. Since the Mavericks started rolling in January, he has averaged 29.7 points per game on 46.2% from the field. In February, he averaged 34.7 points per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the 3-point line. Last month, Dončić averaged under 30 points per game, 29.9, while shooting 48.8 per cent from the pitch and 39.6 per cent from three.
He has been unstoppable and been doing whatever he wants on the court. Look at this clip from yesterday of him isolated one-on-one against Giannis. This is a 7-foot player who is bigger, faster, stronger, and longer than him, along with being one of the best defensive players of his generation. Dončić basically did to Antetokounmpo what Allen Iverson did to Michael Jordan, except he buried a 3-pointer. Look at the bench reaction. If this happened during an episode of Streetball everyone would’ve rushed the court.
Also, his assists are getting ridiculous. He had a season-high 15 yesterday, and threw just about every reach in the book. Dončić went behind him, crossed the field, hit Antetokounmpo with winning shots, and threw it on the field during the break. The pass he made against the Bucks was spectacular and it became more and more popular for him. Take a look at the pass he threw to Maxi Kleber last week. Dončić almost hit the rim and not only flipped the 3-point line, he also threw the pass over the opposite shoulder.
However, as great as he has been, it’s not fair that players who have played all season give him that bonus. Jokić took part in an advanced analytics attack throughout the season, while jointly hosting the Denver Nuggets without Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray, while also keeping the team from falling out of the play-ins. Antetokounmpo has kept the Bucks afloat while they have faced injuries throughout the season, including an injury that led to Brook Lopez being sidelined for most of the season, and nearly made them the No. in the Eastern Conference – they can technically still get there. but they 2.5 games only four games left to play. Also, even though the Philadelphia 76ers are struggling at the end of the year, don’t forget that Joel Embiid is playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 30.2 points out of 49.3% from the court and playing a lot. the most in a season of his career. , all while keeping the 76ers together in the Ben Simmons TV series.
None of those players should be overlooked for their performances in Dončić’s half-season, but these four and Kevin Durant are the top five in the NBA. Yesterday, Luka Dončić put on national television the kind of performance worthy of the tournament’s best player. So while he doesn’t deserve a place in the MVP conversation, not only does he deserve a place in the best player conversation, he probably needs to. who the conversation revolves around.