Mavericks: All-time great defenders are not sure how to stop Luka Doncic
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks have caught fire over their last 30 games. Luka Doncic averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 7.8 assists on 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 41.0 percent on his threes over that stretch. The Mavs superstar is playing at an MVP level as he led Dallas to 20 wins.
Doncic has improved tremendously in this third NBA season. He has locked in his 3-point shot and become unstoppable. The 22-year-old has hit 37.1 percent of his 194 step back threes this season. Luka is one of the most prolific drivers and finishers in the game while being in the top ten in assists per game. There is virtually no way for defenders to stop Doncic now.
Many have tried this season. Luka has scored 20-plus points in 43 of his 48 games. In one of those games where he failed to net 20, he had 12 assists, and the Mavericks superstar played under 30 minutes in three others. Nobody has stopped him, so ESPN decided to ask three all-time great defenders what they would do against Luka. Let us take a closer look at their answers.
How would all-time great defenders slow down Mavericks star Luka Doncic?
Tony Allen decided he would force Doncic to his right and take away his step back 3-pointer. The six-time All-Defensive team selection was one of the best perimeter stoppers in the league for a decade-plus, but Luka would feast off drives. The 22-year-old is second in the league in drives per game and his 58.2 percent shooting from the field is second to Giannis among players taking at least ten drives a night.
Bruce Bowen and Metta Sandiford-Artest (formerly known as Ron Artest) plan to make Doncic work for everything. The Clippers have used his strategy in the past to slow down Luka, but the 22-year-old is on another level this season. The Mavericks star has the ball in his hands so much that making him work for everything can wear him down a bit in the fourth quarter. Dallas would benefit tremendously from having a secondary ball-handler. Luka might have 30 in the first three quarters using this strategy, even if it slows him down in the final stanza.
The takeaway from ESPN’s article is there is no blueprint to slowing down Luka Doncic. The 22-year-old has reached an incredible level on the offensive end of the floor. Many teams have resorted to double-teaming and forcing the ball out of Luka’s hands. That strategy often leads to Doncic piling on the assists and the Mavericks offense becoming difficult to stop.
All three defenders showed respect and admiration for Luka’s offensive talent. Fans must read the article to hear them talk about his game. The 22-year-old is unstoppable. Teams are just trying to find ways to slow him down.
Expect Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks to keep improving. The organization plans on building a title contender around their 22-year-old star. They are closer than fans think, and the best is yet to come. Check back to The Smoking Cuban daily for all the latest on Luka and the Mavs.