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Take your shots at Luka Doncic now because there will be no denying him soon

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks reached the Western Conference Finals when nobody thought they would. They were 16-18 on Dec. 30, and it appeared they would be fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament. Instead, Dallas had the second-best record from Jan. 1 to the end of the regular season to finish fourth in the West. The Mavs won their first playoff series since 2011, and upset the top-seeded Suns, despite trailing 2-0 and 3-2 in the series, with superstar Luka Doncic leading it all.

Dallas ran into a better team in the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in eight years by winning four of the five games. Golden State was the better and deeper team that had the experience edge. The Mavs made it a series, but there was no shame in losing, and it should not take away from what Dallas accomplished.

Luka was the only All-Star on the Mavericks roster. Every other team to reach the conference finals this year had multiple All-Stars, but that does not stop fans and media from criticizing Doncic and his style of play. There will be plenty of talk about it following their elimination.

Take your shots at Luka Doncic now because there will be no denying him soon

Luka has a massive usage rate and some are quick to say he monopolizes the ball. The 23-year-old superstar just averaged 31.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game over 15 postseason games as he led his team to the Western Conference Finals. Doncic did without a second star, and head coach Jason Kidd only trusted six rotation players to play significant minutes throughout their playoff run. The Mavs lacked depth and top-end talent around him.

Still, the media will say he does too much, and he does not make his teammates better. Keyshawn Johnson was one of the latest to go after Luka and his style of play, but he is far from the only one.

The James Harden comparisons are always made too. The Warriors even stated it a few times during this series, but they are different players. Harden never won it all, but he had better talent around him. Doncic never had a Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, or Russell Westbrook. Luka is not just running endless pick and rolls and trying to draw fouls.

Doncic is the superior creator, and he wants to get others involved. Despite the comments, Luka rates as the best shot creator in the NBA. He can and will win a championship when his supporting cast improves.

The 23-year-old once again exceeded expectations. Nobody thought he become a superstar so quickly or lead Dallas back to the playoffs in his second NBA season. Luka continues to prove his greatness, and he is on pace to an all-time great. He led his team to the Western Conference Finals in his fourth NBA season. Yes, the Mavericks lost, but that is the natural progression for one of the best ever.

Michael Jordan only reached the conference semifinals in his fourth NBA season, and it was not until his seventh that he led his team to the NBA Finals and a championship. LeBron James reached the NBA Finals in his fourth season, but they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. It was not until his seventh season that he won a ring. The list goes on. It takes playoff failures to win a championship. Luka is right on track to reach the pinnacle.

Doncic earned his third first-team All-NBA selection this year as he was just the fourth player in league history to earn three before turning 24 years old. Everything about Luka and his game is special, and he is just taking the first steps toward being mentioned as one of the best to ever do it.

Doncic was asked about what he needs to do to reach the next level after their Game 5 loss to the Warriors, and he wasted no time with his answer.

"Defense. I think the defense has got to be way better for me. Honestly, I think I made a huge step this year defensively, but there is so much room for improvement, and I got to be way better there. That is one spot that can take us to the next level."

Luka has improved his game every offseason, including a few that were made quite short by the pandemic. Like the rest of the all-time greats, he will come back with a few new wrinkles next season and the roster around him will continue to improve.

Doncic does need to improve his defense, and he must get back on defense even when a call does not go his way. Luka is already an unstoppable offensive force and those other things will keep getting better. He is already one of the best players in the NBA, and the 6'7 guard is still years away from his peak.

That is a scary thought for the rest of the NBA. Fans and media members can keep knocking him. Luka Doncic hears those comments and uses them as fuel to improve his game. Get your shots in now because soon enough the Dallas Mavericks superstar’s greatness and ability to win will be unquestionable.

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