10 Reasons Luka Doncic was wrongfully robbed of the 2024 NBA MVP

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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9. Led Mavericks to fifth seed in the Western Conference

Just months ago it seemed like there was no way the Mavericks would even sniff home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, but behind a vastly improved defense the Mavericks were able to climb all the way to the fifth seed in the Western Conference ahead of the playoffs.

While Dallas’ defensive improvements can be accredited for helping Dallas surge from play-in territory to nearly the fourth seed in the West, Luka Doncic was the consistent tide that kept this Mavericks team afloat all season, particularly when Kyrie Irving was missing a decent amount of contests early on in the season.

The Mavericks were riddled with injuries not just to Irving early on in the season, but to various role players as well such as Josh Green and Maxi Kleber. The Mavericks also had yet to acquire P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford, as Dallas was league-average from a defensive standpoint up until the trade deadline.

This put Luka Doncic in a tough position to try and will the Mavericks to some wins during Dallas’ December-January stretch, and while Dallas certainly didn’t have the cleanest slate during that time period, Doncic was essential in carrying the Mavericks’ offense enough to uphold an above .500 record at 16-15 through those two months.

Doncic was putting together some herculean efforts during this time span, most notably when he scored an NBA season-high 73 points against the Atlanta Hawks on January 26. While the Mavericks play-style has since shifted from a heliocentric style that required Doncic to carry a heavy burden with Irving missing significant time early on to a more balanced attack, it is without debate that the Mavericks wouldn’t have even had a chance at the fifth seed if it weren’t for Doncic’s heroics this season.