Mavericks star Luka Doncic heads into his 4th season as not only a MVP candidate, but arguably a top 5 player in the NBA at such a young age. His accomplishments are well known, and all of that was rewarded with a monster contract extension to keep him in a Mavericks uniform for the next half decade. Once again, however, the Mavericks fell to the Clippers in the first round of the NBA playoffs, putting pressure on the front office to revamp the roster to fit their star player and help him win a championship. Mark Cuban overhauled both the coaching staff and front office, bringing in Jason Kidd and Nico Harrison as head coach and GM, respectively. In free agency, the Mavericks re-signed Tim Hardaway, Jr. to a team friendly deal, along with signing 3-and-D wings Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown. All the while, Luka had been showcasing his talents on the global stage in the Olympics.
Very little was made of Luka’s initial reaction to some of these moves. There had been some Twitter comments and short responses during the press conference after signing his extension. Earlier this week, Luka spoke with Spanish newspaper Marca about the hiring of Jason Kidd and his thoughts on the Maverick’s chances for a championship, Luka had this to say:
“I think he is an excellent coach who also knows a lot about how to play basketball and how to coach a team. It’s an excellent opportunity to grow and I think it will help me a lot.”
Jason Kidd is one of the greatest point guards of all time, and having a young star point guard learn from someone with that wealth of knowledge is definitely an advantage. Much has been made about Kidd’s past coaching stops, but let’s not forget that he was a key assistant for the Lakers during their title run and has earned the praise of many NBA players, including LeBron James and last year’s Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. When asked about whether the Mavericks were title contenders, Luka said:
“As I say, that’s my goal and I believe that you can always fight. We’ll see how the season goes but in my opinion we can be there, fighting for everything. I don’t know if we need one or two players or what exactly, we have to start playing and there we’ll see what happens.”
Luka clearly has a lot of fight to him, as evidenced in his outrageous performance agains the Clippers in the playoffs last year. The question remains as to whether the rest of the Mavericks can match his grit and intensity come playoff time. Whether last years failure was the fault of coaching or not, there is no doubt the Mavericks needed additional pieces to aid in their quest to bring another title to Dallas. It’s encouraging that Luka seems excited for the opportunity to work with Kidd. That’s a good sign considering we’re just a few weeks away from finding out whether this experiment will work for the Mavericks in 2021.
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