Dallas Mavericks: Grading 2019-2020 season of Luka Doncic
This is one of the most underrated parts of Luka Doncic’s game. The knock coming out of the draft was that he was a bad defender. That has not been the case during his time in Dallas. Now, do not get me wrong here. Luka is not Kawhi Leonard, but there are plenty of positives from his defense.
The 21-year-old averaged 9.3 rebounds per game this season. That was 18th in the NBA. His 8.0 defensive rebounds a night ranked tenth. Doncic, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook are the only three players classified as guards by Basketball-Reference that finished inside the top 25.
Luka also averaged 1.1 steals per game for the second straight season.
The advanced metrics are favorable too. Doncic was 44th in NBA in defensive win shares at 2.3. Defensive box score plus-minus had him 41st.
Coach Rick Carlisle and the Mavs play it smart. They use Luka in favorable defensive matchups. It allows him to get the most out of his rebound ability. He also conserves energy for running the offense. Doncic is a plus help defender too.
Defensive grade: A-
Luka Doncic often gets a bad rap for his defense. He holds his own. Doncic was an excellent rebounder and outperformed expectations on this end of the floor too.
Next: Overall grade