Dallas Mavericks: Tapering expectations for Luka Doncic
By Kohl Rast
The Dallas Mavericks drafted one of the best rookies in the 2018 NBA Draft class when they moved up to select Luka Doncic with the third overall pick. We can expect a lot from Doncic this season, but it is important to allow him to grow into NBA form.
As far as experienced rookies go, you won’t see very many with more significant professional experience than that of Luka Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks may have drafted a 19-year old, but they also picked up a EuroLeague MVP and Spanish league champion. This is not your ordinary 19-year old kid.
Now, enough telling you what you already know. Luka Doncic is the most accomplished player to come from Europe in NBA history. That said, we still need to remember that Doncic doesn’t have experience with the NBA pace, talent and style at this point. He will get there, but it could take some time.
That is what we need to remember. If Luka starts off slow in his rookie year, that does not mean that he won’t adjust and figure it all out as he goes along. In fact, he is too smart and aware of the game for any slow start to get in his head too much. Those are my feelings about him anyways.
I wrote a similar piece to this about Dennis Smith Jr. last year and I will probably write one for every rookie the Mavs fans get excited about. It is easy to assume they are going to be great right away because we have been told that they would be by the professionals.
Doncic has some incredible parts to his game, but he does have flaws as well. His defense is questionable and his athleticism is not quite to the level of a majority of the NBA players. His playmaking ability is going to cancel a lot of that out, but there is still going to be a learning curve.
The point is, we can be excited about Luka and how great his career is going to be in Dallas, but our expectations need to give him time to grow. He will be great. I am almost certain of that. Maybe just not right away.