Way Dallas Mavericks can fix their clutch woes: 2. Production without Luka
This season, Luka Doncic is third in the NBA in box plus-minus at 8.3. According to Basketball-Reference, that stat is an estimate of the points per 100 possessions that a player contributed above a league-average player translated to an average team.
After Luka, the next Maverick on the list is James Johnson who ranks 80th with a 0.3 plus-minus. Outside of Doncic, no rotation player has a positive plus-minus.
Before the Hawks game, Luka Doncic would play the entire third quarter and not come back into the game until six or seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. By the time Rick Carlisle subbed Luka in, it was too late for the Mavericks. It appears that Carlisle has already changed the rotation to ensure that Luka comes back earlier in the fourth, but that is not enough.
The Mavericks supporting cast must be better and more consistent without Luka. They are last in the NBA in 3-point shooting, and Josh Richardson is still finding chemistry with the team. Dallas needs more from their bench too.
Jalen Brunson is on early-season 50/40/90 watch, but the Mavs need more consistent offense from Trey Burke, and Kristaps Porzingis has to return to his bubble form. Normally, the Mavericks could be patient, but in a shortened 72-game season, every game means more. If the Mavericks supporting cast is still not playing up to par by the trade deadline, do not be surprised to see the front office make a move to improve their non-Luka offense.
Next: No. 1