It is hard to argue that Luka Doncic has been one of the best players in the league through the first couple games of the season. The Dallas Mavericks are 2-0 for the first time in 15 years, but is Luka’s usage already too high?
In his rookie season, Luka Doncic had one of the highest usage rates in the league with the Dallas Mavericks. Only 10 players in the league were relied upon with the ball more than Luka was and none of them were rookies or teenagers. It was pretty clear right from the start that this kid was a special player.
Through two games of this season, that seems to be just as obviously true. Luka has been phenomenal and has been the key catalyst for the team in both games. Paired with his new running mate, Kristaps Porzingis, it is nice that he can rely on someone else a little bit, but with that tandem still a work in progress, these two wins can mostly be attributed to Luka’s stellar play.
We can clearly see that Luka’s offseason training program paid off, but after averaging 36 minutes in the first two games, can Luka keep this level of play up 80 more times? Someone else will have to show up and prove that they can carry this team while Luka gets a little bit of rest.
The obvious top option for that is Porzingis. He may not be able to create for others very well, but he can create his own shot and he can catch and shoot as well as anyone in the league. The Mavs need to be able to have him in the game without Luka and show that he can be the guy.
Delon Wright is another important player for when Luka isn’t in the game. Wright is an excellent creator and is proving to be a decent scoring option as well. Even more than that, his defense is going to be key for when the Mavs have potentially fewer scoring opportunities.
Others who could really be leaned on are J.J. Barea and Jalen Brunson. Both of these guys know how to run an offense and are natural leaders on the court. With Brunson getting all of the minutes for both of those guys so far, it is unclear how much Barea will play on average, but it would be nice if a few of Luka’s minutes could get moved to him.
Dallas has some great players but only one that is playing like a superstar so far this season. Who will be the man that shows up in order to give Luka a break? We just have to wait for that moment and see who steps up.