Luka Doncic took Dallas Mavericks to the conference finals without a co-star
The seven other players in contention for best player in the world all have another All-Star on their roster. Looking at The Athletic’s player tiers (subscription required) as a guide, the others has at least one top 32 player in their lineup. Luka’s best teammates were Dorian Finney-Smith and the now-departed Jalen Brunson, who ranked in tier 4A, which was the 41st to 59th best players.
Only two of the top eight reached the conference finals last season. Stephen Curry led the Warriors to their fourth championship in eight years, and Golden State battled the Mavericks and Luka Doncic in the Western Conference Finals.
It took an incredible run from Doncic to lift Dallas that far. He missed the first three postseason games because of a calf injury but showed no ill effects after returning in Game 4 and helping the Mavs take out both the Jazz and Suns before falling to the Dubs.
All three teams Dallas faced in the postseason were keying on Luka on both ends of the floor. They were trying to find a way to stop him on the offensive end and force him into every action on defense. Doncic answered the bell by averaging 31.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game as the Mavericks made the conference finals for just the fifth time in franchise history.