The Dallas Mavericks reached the Western Conference Finals behind incredible play from superstar Luka Doncic. The 23-year-old beat every defense the Jazz and Suns could throw at him to make a surprise appearance in the final four. The Warriors dominated Dallas in the conference finals, but Doncic already made his case for the best player in the world.
Luka has not slowed down since the season ended. He went right into training for the Slovenian National Team where he plans to play in three competition cycles this offseason. Doncic led them to two World Cup qualifying wins in the first window with two more games coming up later this summer and the EuroBasket championship. Expect the 23-year-old to hit the ground running next season after staying busy this offseason.
The Athletic released their annual player tiers (subscription required) this week, and Luka made the top tier, but he was not part of the upper echelon. Here is a closer look at where the Dallas Mavericks superstar landed.
Luka Doncic too low in The Athletic’s annual player tiers
The Athletic placed eight players in their tier one, but they split that group into three sub-tiers. Doncic landed in 1B with Joel Embiid. They were behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, and Stephen Curry.
All six players are fantastic, but Doncic is unquestionably in that top tier. Put him on the Warriors in place of Stephen Curry and see how the team performs. Luka’s supporting cast is not on the level of any of those six players, and yet the only ones to reach the conference finals in 2022 were Curry and Doncic. The Mavericks superstar is one of if not the best player in the NBA right now.
It is easy to discount Luka Doncic because he is not the best defender and his team has made just one deep playoff run, but that should not take away from his greatness. The 23-year-old led Slovenia, a country of just over 2 million people, into the Olympic semifinals, and they were one possession away from knocking off France and playing for the gold medal.
Luka Doncic is on pace to be an all-time great and inner circle Hall of Famer. His greatness is just beginning, and the Dallas Mavericks need to improve the roster around him to push the team into title contention. They have the most difficult piece to find, and he is unquestionably one of the best players in the NBA that will only get better.