The Dallas Mavericks are currently out of the playoff zone, and they lost 6 of the last 8 games. Luka Doncic is doing his magic, but his superb performances cannot be the only option for coach Jason Kidd.


Luka Doncic is having a sensational season, which should surprise almost no one. The Slovenian phenom is, at present, the best scorer in the entire NBA, with an average of 33.6 points per game.

The former Real Madrid star is also in the top 5 in assists, making an average of 8.7 assists per game and adding almost 9 rebounds per game.

In the victory over Steph Curry's Golden State Warriors, in one of the most anticipated duels this early in the season, Doncic was simply dominant, delivering a 41-point, 12-assist, and 12-rebound performance, all topped by 44% from 3-point range, and leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 116-113 victory.

After reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, surrendering to Curry's own Warriors, who later became NBA champions, there were quite a few expectations on the Mavericks.

Despite the data we have listed so far, Dallas' start to the season has been less exciting than expected. Jason Kidd's team is currently in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 10-11 record.

In the last 8 games, the record has been 6 losses and only 2 wins. Of course, the playoffs zone is not far away, and everything is still fixable. But at the same time, it would be at least superficial to ignore the flaws of this team, which in these first 20 games of the regular season have become apparent several times.

During the offseason, the Mavericks lost Jalen Brunson, who had been a crucial element in the backcourt. The player signed a rich multi-year contract with the New York Knicks in free agency, and the Mavs essentially chose not to replace him.

In fact, no player arrived in the backcourt to worthily replace Brunson, and an attempt to get Goran Dragic also failed, with Doncic's compatriot settling with the Bulls. To put a patch on this hole, the Mavs decided to cut Facundo Campazzo and sign Kemba Walker.

Free throws this season

Points made: 18,3
Accuracy: 71,4%
Place in standings: 17
Record max: 30
Record min: 8
Most made FTs: Luka Doncic

The former Knicks player had remained a free agent, and Dallas management hopes he can bring a contribution to the backcourt. However, Walker can hardly be the answer to all of Dallas' problems.

First of all, Kidd's team needs to regain some sparkle on the offensive end. In its last 10 games, Dallas is averaging 109.3 points per 100 possessions, 4th-worst in the entire league. This team lives mostly on 3-point shooting, and when the percentages are not good, the team struggles to produce alternative solutions.

Two of the elements that are supposed to provide firepower on the perimeter, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Reggie Bullock, are struggling so far, but the numbers from 3-point are not so distant from the ones of the past season.

The main issue is that without Brunson, there are fewer alternative options available, with the team having seen a clear decrease in their two-points attempts. Doncic, because of how the opponents' defense is choosing to cover him, is in a tough spot.

Other teams have been trying to keep Doncic on the perimeter as much as possible, taking him away from the possibility of taking mid-rangers or creating them for his teammates.

In many situations, other teams' defense tries to trap Doncic on the 3-point line, forcing him to pass the ball sooner because of the defensive pressure. Since the arrival of Doncic, Dallas has always been a team that relies a lot on 3-point shooting and the perimeter game, but this type of style has become even more evident this season.

As of right now, only 52% of Dallas' shots come from inside the arc. It's the 2nd-lowest number in the entire league. For the other teams' defense, it's more convenient to bet on the 3-point attempts of the other Mavs' shooters, who are good but not super-good, especially when they have to take forced or really contested shots.

Having a more balanced offense could help, but Dallas would also need a better interior presence that so far is lacking. During the offseason, the Mavs signed JaVale McGee in the hope that he'd provide a solid option for the center role.

That idea, though, quickly vanished, and the former Denver Nuggets big man is already out of Kidd's rotation.

Christian Wood, another main addition, was supposed to be a starter. Still, so far, Kidd has always used him coming off the bench, and the former Detroit Pistons big is averaging only 25 minutes per game, lower than he was expecting when he signed with Dallas.

So far, Kidd always refused to change his starting lineup, despite the pressure from the Dallas environment to play Christian Wood and Josh Green more minutes. The head coach stressed multiple times that the starting lineup is not an issue and that the people should focus on other stuff.

But it's undeniable that with Dinwiddie and Doncic sharing most of their minutes, there's very little playmaking available when they're both on the bench. Dallas is not that deep as a team, so the idea of having Dinwiddie coming off the bench to lead the second unit should be at least considered.

Sure, now the addition of Kemba Walker would probably help in having a bit more depth in the PG role, but his signing looks more like an emergency solution than a long-term one. The team is definitely missing Brunson's ability to go the paint at ease and his tendency to take good mid-range shots.

That variety is no longer available, unfortunately. Doncic's greatness keeps the team afloat and will likely continue to do so. The season is still pretty long, and the Western Conference, this season, looks less of a nightmare than in other years.

However, as of today, the Mavericks are +1100 (12.00) in odds to become the Western Conference champions.

But Dallas needs to start looking for alternatives and more creative solutions because the current situation doesn't seem sustainable for the long term.

Doncic is still an extremely young player, he's only 23 years old, but he has already been through some turmoil with the Mavs' organization, especially towards the end of coach Rick Carlisle's tenure.

In the NBA, you have to keep your superstars happy. It's probably the no.1 rule of the league. The Slovenian star recently committed his future to Dallas for the next five years, but he won't remain happy forever if the chances of winning an NBA title won't increase.

The current structure of the Mavericks doesn't look like the right one for going all the way to an NBA championship.

Wasting Doncic's prime would be a real shame for the Mavericks organization, and changes should start to happen sooner rather than later.

The heavy reliance on Doncic is something that cannot always be sustainable. The Slovenian star can't always make up for everyone else's mistakes. The clock is ticking for the Mavericks to make something different happen. 

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Luka Doncic

Luka  Doncic
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Position: SG
Age: 23
Height: 201 cm
Weight: 104 kg
Birth place: Ljubljana, Slovenia