The Dallas Mavericks traded up to draft Luka Doncic in 2018, but there is no way they could have expected him to become a superstar so quickly. He dominated the EuroLeague as a teenager, and it became clear almost immediately that Doncic was destined for greatness. By the close of his Rookie of the Year campaign, the Mavs had remade their team with him as the centerpiece.
Luka has followed that up with two top-five finishes in MVP and two first-team All-NBA honors. The 22-year-old is one of the top five players in the world, but playoff success has alluded him. The Mavericks were knocked out in the first round by the LA Clippers both years. Doncic will be looking to win his first NBA postseason series in 2022 as he makes a run at league MVP.
First, Luka will be leading his native Slovenia in the Olympic Games. They won all four of their games at the qualifying tournament in Lithuania to advance. Slovenia topped the hosts in the final behind a 31-point triple-double from Doncic. Here is a look at why he is about to take the Olympics storm.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic set to lead Slovenia to an Olympic medal
The Olympics in Tokyo are the first time that Slovenia has qualified in basketball. The nation of just over 2 million people won EuroBasket 2017 with Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic leading the way. The Miami Heat guard has since retired from international play. Fans can see Doncic and his team here.
Luka will stand out because Slovenia plays to his strengths. They are going to let the Dallas Mavericks superstar handle the ball and make plays. His national team surrounds him with shooters and has center Mike Tobey rolling to the rim for easy buckets. Slovenia’s five-out offense is difficult to stop, especially with Doncic restlessly attacking.
The FIBA rules suit the Mavs star. It is only a 40-minute game with a shorter 3-point line. Doncic tends to wear down late in games because of the heavy offensive burden he carries for the Mavericks. The eight fewer minutes of game time allows the 22-year-old to be a force throughout. He has significantly improved his jumper over the last year, and the shorter 3-point arc makes him even more deadly.
Players also foul out after five in FIBA play. Doncic’s ability to attack the paint and draw contact can put opposing teams into foul trouble quickly. Expect plenty of free throws from the Mavs star in Tokyo.
Luka is one of the best players in the world at creating and exploiting mismatches. If the defense has one weak link, Doncic will force that player to guard him and get an easy bucket. That skill becomes more deadly in FIBA play when teams have less talent. Expect multiple monster stat lines from Luka in the Olympic Games as he leads Slovenia to a medal.
The Smoking Cuban will be back with all things Luka Doncic at the Olympic Games, plus all the offseason rumors, news, and analysis Dallas Mavericks supporters crave, so please keep it locked here.