3. Offensive versatility
Luka Doncic's size makes him a rare specimen for the point guard position. Much like LeBron James and Magic Johnson, he is a walking mismatch on offense. His ability to score in just about every way imaginable causes opposing teams to double him or just pray that he misses.
Before the trade for Kyrie Irving, opposing defenses would blitz Doncic once he crossed the half-court line and hope that the other four players for Dallas couldn't generate consistent offense in a four-on-three scenario.
This proved to be a reliable approach to defending the Mavericks, as no other player on the roster could consistently generate their own offense or create open scoring opportunities for others.
Inserting Kyrie Irving into the lineup next to Luka makes that an incredibly different scenario. Opposing teams are not going to feel safe if Kyrie Irving has the ball in his hands in a four-on-three situation.
Luka's size also makes him a candidate to be the screener for Kyrie. Jason Kidd used this approach sparingly last season, but a full training camp together should hopefully see them go to this approach more often. The amount of scoring opportunities this would create is almost endless for Dallas.
Kyrie as the ball handler, receiving a screen, is already an extremely difficult scenario for teams to defend. Irving is one of the greatest ball handlers of all time, and as mentioned earlier, can not only score from anywhere but also find open teammates with ease. The defense has to respect a player of that caliber with the ball in his hands.
With Luka operating as the screener, defenders will have to make a lose-lose decision. They will either have to focus on preventing Doncic from getting the ball or try to stop Kyrie from generating offense.
Considering Luka can score from anywhere on the court and also consistently score (and be a playmaker) with his back to the basket, there really is no correct answer for opposing coaches to choose from.
If they choose to stop Kyrie and prevent a corner three opportunity off of a pass, that leaves Doncic with BBQ chicken on the menu. He can either have single coverage in a post-up situation or attack a defender closing out at the top of the key.
Keep in mind that Doncic is an elite playmaker in addition to being an elite scorer. Luka having the ball in his hands against a defense that is trying to chaotically switch and rotate is a cupcake scenario for Dallas.
The only other duo that can somewhat compare is Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. However, Murray simply isn't of the same caliber player as Kyrie Irving. Jokic is an amazing playmaker and scorer in the half-court, but he isn't quite the playmaker that Doncic can be. That isn't a knock on Jokic, but Luka is a point guard and simply a better ball handler with more mobility.
None of the other star duos in the league have two "score from anywhere" point guards, with one of them being big enough (and skilled enough) to score offensively like a big if needed. To be honest, the NBA has never really seen a twosome of this combination.
Dallas has surrounded its star duo with better defenders and shooters this off-season. Seemingly, those changes should cover up for the defensive weaknesses they have both shown in the past. If that catapults the Mavericks to more wins, the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving might be one that is remembered for generations to come.