The Dallas Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Finals last season. It was an unexpected run that might have been a fluke for some, and they might have been correct with that assertion. Jalen Brunson, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Dorian Finney-Smith are three rotational pieces that have departed from Dallas, and the team has yet to find a way to fill in the vital roles they possess alongside Luka Doncic.
The front office decided to bank on more prominent names like Kyrie Irving and Christian Wood, but they have been an abysmal fit with Luka. The blame pie must be cut across various individuals in the organization, but one primary reason is the subpar play of Doncic. Expectations and pressure skyrocket as a franchise cornerstone, but Doncic has yet to thrive at that position this season.
With the disaster in Dallas this season, Doncic must set the tone and change some of his ways on and off the court.
Cut down on the technical fouls
Luka Doncic has been leading the league in technical fouls since he entered the NBA. During his first two years, others may think it was his immense passion and seriousness for the game, but some of his technicals these past two seasons have been atrocious. Pouting at the officials every game can affect the calls they whistle because any individual would be annoyed with the non-stop remarks Doncic.
By decreasing his technical fouls, Doncic will lessen the points he gives away on free shots at the charity stripe. Moreover, slicing the complaints will influence his teammates to play harder on both ends rather than talking to the referees in every possession. The number of technical fouls is not the issue per se, but the attitude that comes when playing the game every night.
Do not become a liability on defense
With how the team is constructed, Dallas needs more talented defenders on their roster. Letting go of Brunson and Finney-Smith left a massive hole in that department, as they also added players who struggled on the defensive end. As a leader of the squad, Luka Doncic must be adequate on defense, at the very least. He had a remark on his poor defense, and acceptance is the start of the change in his mindset.
The two reasons stated in the piece are closely related because decreasing the technical fouls will result in focusing more on the defensive end and limiting the points allowed by the opponent. During these last two weeks, wherein the Mavs’ shot themselves in the foot, their counterparts scored 120-130 points, which is not close to the recipe of a championship-contending squad. If the superstar changes his attitude, his teammates will follow suit.
Find a way to maximize his teammates
Many of the greats in this generation, like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, have found a way to involve their teammates every year. Doncic had incredible chemistry with guys like Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and even Boban Marjanovic, but they are all gone from the Mavs. As a leader, Doncic must control what he can control and create ways to unlock the potential of his teammates.
Players like Maxi Kleber and Christian Wood were underwhelming this season, so the ascension of their role players must be a priority in the offseason. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are ultra-talented guards, but they will need to learn how to thrive with the role players in Dallas. Averaging 30 PPG for both guys is remarkable, but they must focus on these three facets to continue being a force in the Western Conference.