Luka Doncic needs to organize the defense and become floor general on both ends
The Dallas Mavericks reached the conference finals last season on the back of their defense. They made a massive improvement in their first season under head coach Jason Kidd, including holding the Jazz to 100 or fewer points three times in the first round of the playoffs and limiting the Suns to their three worst scoring games of the year in round two.
Defense quickly went from strength to weakness for Dallas. They did extremely well last season at limiting shots at the rim or beyond the 3-point line, but their connectivity and effort are just not there this year. The Mavericks give up a ton of easy buckets inside and wide-open threes.
Blame the personnel, which did get worse this season, but it was not like Dallas had a ton of lights-out options in 2022. The Mavs were tied together, wanted to win for each other, and gave it their all to get a stop. Even Luka was engaged and helping on the defensive end of the floor last year.
This season, the defense has been abysmal because nobody is leading it. Luka Doncic needs to be that person. He will never be the greatest defender in the world, but the best player should be the leader. The 24-year-old should be organizing the defense and making sure the team is giving their all.
It starts with him too. Doncic has been blown by plenty on the perimeter, failed to box out, and missed plenty of assignments. The Mavericks cannot afford to have their superstar playing lackluster defense. LD must lock in, give it his all, and start to lead on both ends of the floor.