Former Maverick comes to Luka Doncic's rescue amid wild slander

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks blew the perfect opportunity to get within striking distance of the Boston Celtics in the 2024 NBA Finals, as they lost 106-99 at home in Game 3.

Dallas had a strong start to the game, but their lack of a third scorer hurt them tremendously. No one outside of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving stepped up offensively, and the Mavs didn't have enough firepower to get the win over a loaded Celtics team.

Another huge talking point after Game 3 was Doncic's defensive struggles. Doncic fouled out of this game, and he struggled to make many stops on the perimeter. Part of Dallas' game plan has been to run opponents off the 3-point line and force them into tough twos, but Doncic has not been able to catch a break since the end of Game 3.

Seemingly every big outlet is attacking him for his lack of defense in this series, and ESPN's Brian Windhorst went as far as to say that Doncic's defense has been "unacceptable."

JaVale McGee comes to Luka Doncic's rescue amid criticism about his defense

Doncic's defense clearly needs to improve, and he knows that, but seemingly everyone is forgetting that he is the reason that the Mavs are in this position in the first place. He has been outstanding in these playoffs, and one former Mavericks teammate of Doncic came to his defense amid all of the slander that he is getting.

JaVale McGee knows Doncic as well as anyone considering that they spent a whole season together as teammates, and he defended the young superstar on ESPN's "The Pat McAfee Show."

"Everybody in the league knows Luka isn't the best defensive player," McGee said. "But at the same time, no one cares about Luka's defense because he'll go and give you 50."

McGee wasn't about to act like Doncic is a great defender, but he also defended him due to his offensive brilliance. Everyone in the NBA knows Doncic isn't an all-world defender, but he does happen to be the best scorer in the NBA and a phenomenal all-around offensive player. Doncic made big strides as a defender this season, but everyone has seemingly forgotten that due to his defense being under a magnifying glass during the Finals.

It's fair to say that Doncic isn't a great defender, but it's unfair to make it seem like his defense is the Mavs' biggest problem. That's what's been happening ever since the final buzzer of Game 3, and it's unfair that all of the fingers are being pointed at Doncic despite how much he wants to win and how much he is contributing for Dallas. The fact that people are trying to say that Doncic is holding this team back is unbelievable, and they must have forgotten how excellent he's been all season and playoffs long.

Later, McGee dove into how this series Doncic's defense is really showing up due to Boston's brilliance on the defensive end of the floor as every player defends. He then dove into how Doncic can tackle these defensive woes and said that he must improve as a man-to-man defender and know where to be when getting blown by in an attempt to get back in position to help his team.

Doncic getting blown by on defense is nothing new, and it'll be interesting to see the adjustments that Jason Kidd makes heading into a must-win Game 4. Doncic's defense must improve for Dallas to get back in this series against a mighty Celtics squad, but it also doesn't help when the role players aren't knocking down shots.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, Jason Kidd, and the Dallas Mavericks, stay tuned as we'll have you covered.