The Dallas Mavericks reached the conference finals last season, but it is easy to forget that they got off to a slow start. Superstar Luka Doncic did not enter the season in peak form, and the Mavs were 16-18 entering the final game of 2021. It was not until Doncic returned from a stint in the health and safety protocols on Jan. 2 that the team took off.
Over his final 44 regular season games, Luka averaged 29.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 8.9 assists, and 1.2 steals as the Mavericks had the second-best record in the league. The 23-year-old superstar played his way back into the top five of the MVP picture, but he could not make up the ground from his slow start.
Doncic is not making the same mistake this offseason. He is focused on his conditioning with the goal of helping his team reach the NBA Finals for just the third time in franchise history. Here is a look at what the Slovenian National Team strength coach had to say about Luka’s conditioning and what it could mean for his MVP case in 2023.
Luka Doncic focusing on conditioning this offseason: MVP season ahead?
Fans have been posting photos with Doncic this summer where he looks noticeably thinner. Slovenian National Team coach Anze Macek talked about Luka’s commitment to improving his conditioning this summer in a Slovenian interview. Mavs Moneyball translated the quote, and it is clear that Doncic is taking his conditioning seriously this summer.
Even on his vacation in Croatia, Luka is staying in shape and working on his game. Not only will the 23-year-old superstar enter the season ready, but he will have a few new tricks in his bag.
Luka wore down late in games early last season, and he did not have his usual burst to get to the rim and finish. Fans will not have to worry about that next season. Doncic is about to ramp things back up as Slovenia has two World Cup qualifiers at the end of August before playing in EuroBasket in September.
Luka will be back in Dallas for training camp shortly after his national team commitments are done. Expect the 23-year-old to be in top form and ready to hit the ground running next season. Could he average a 30-point triple-double for the year? Will he win his first NBA MVP award? Stay tuned to find out.