The Dallas Mavericks acquired Luka Doncic in a draft-night trade in 2018. He immediately changed the franchise’s trajectory. They went from rebuilding to playoff contender as Doncic blossomed into a superstar. He is the youngest player in NBA history to make first-team All-NBA twice. The Mavs need to improve the roster around him if they are going keep Luka happy.
It has been a week of turmoil for the franchise. Their leadership stability crumbled with the departures of both Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle. Owner Mark Cuban must hire a new lead executive and head coach before the offseason moves get underway. Things improved for the Mavericks on Friday. They announced Dirk Nowitzki is returning to the franchise, and Luka was back on the court.
Doncic played for Slovenia in an exhibition game against Croatia on June 18. Here is a closer look at his performance and what is up next for the 22-year-old superstar.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic dishes in Slovenia vs. Croatia friendly
Fans in Ljubljana were excited to see Luka in action. Hear the raucous reaction as the Mavericks superstar was introduced on Friday.
Doncic played just over seven minutes in the first quarter against Croatia. He had four points, four assists, and two rebounds as Slovenia jumped out to an eight-point lead with Luka heading to the bench. The 22-year-old had his incredible passing on full display. See a wild assist and his first points of the year for his national team below.
Croatia made a run in the second quarter to grab the lead at halftime. Luka picked up his third foul and was forced to the bench. He had two more dimes to give him six in the opening 20 minutes.
Doncic threw down back-to-back dunks in the third quarter as found his rhythm in front of his home crowd.
Luka played just under nine minutes in the third quarter. He had eight points, 11 assists, and five rebounds on the night as he headed to the bench with his team locked in a tight battle.
Doncic helped Slovenia take control in the fourth quarter for the 97-88 win. The 22-year-old superstar finished with ten points,17 assists, and seven rebounds. Luka was rolling and has Slovenia looking dangerous.
There was a funny moment in the contest when Doncic lost his shoe. See the sequence below.
Mike Tobey, who played for the University of Virginia, is forming an outstanding connection with Doncic. They hooked up for multiple alley-oops on June 18 and could form a deadly combo this summer as Slovenia looks to win a medal in the Olympics. Klemen Prepelic also hit some key shots for Luka’s team in the win. Those are two names to keep an eye on this summer.
Friday’s game was just an exhibition. The Slovenian National Team is gearing up for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lithuania. They are one of six teams in the event with the winner advancing to Tokyo for the Olympic games. Slovenia plays their first game on June 30 versus Angola. Luka Doncic is confident in the team’s chances of advancing to the Olympics. Expect plenty of monster performances from the Dallas Mavericks superstar for his national team.
An important offseason lies ahead for the Mavs. Luka is expected to sign a supermax extension worth over $200 million this summer. The organization needs to get a clear leadership structure and improve the roster around their 22-year-old superstar. Stay tuned for what is shaping up to be a wild summer for the Dallas Mavericks. Fans will not want to miss it.