Area where Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic can still improve: 5. Defense
The biggest knock on Luka coming out of the draft was his defense. Some experts questioned his athleticism and profiled him as well below-average on this end of the floor. They thought he may be hunted and relentlessly attacked, but that has not been the case in his NBA career.
Luka is listed at 6’7 and 230 pounds. He uses his body and size to stay in front of the opposition. The 22-year-old is skilled at reading passing lanes and creating easy turnovers. Doncic averaged 1.0 steal and 0.5 blocks per game during the regular season. The Mavs often match him up on a lesser offensive option, partially to save his energy for when they have the ball.
Luka can still improve his defense. He ranked 166th of 250 qualified players by FiveThirtyEight’s Defensive RAPTOR. Doncic gambles for steals too often and could just play with more energy on the defensive end. The 22-year-old will be a league-average defender at some point in his career, but it will take some improvement to get there.
New head coach Jason Kidd noted that defense will be an emphasis for the Dallas Mavericks this season. Expect him to help Luka find another level on this end of the floor.