The Dallas Mavericks won the first two games of their first-round playoff series against the LA Clippers behind two masterful performances from Luka Doncic. He was hunting mismatches and bullying smaller guards like Patrick Beverley, who was rendered virtually unplayable for the rest of the series when Doncic was on the floor. The Don put on a show in the series, but Kawhi Leonard and company were just too much over the seven games.
Beverley answered “Luka” when he was asked who is the toughest player to guard, but the 33-year-old was confident in his abilities to lockdown the Mavericks superstar going forward. Beverley has made three All-Defensive teams and is known as one of the top perimeter defenders in the league.
Was Pat Bev right? Is Luka Doncic already the toughest player to guard in the NBA? Let us take a closer look.
Is Patrick Beverley right about Mavericks star Luka Doncic being the toughest to guard?
Luka is unstoppable, and he is a master at hunting mismatches. The 22-year-old will find the player on the floor that cannot stop him and keep creating that matchup. Doncic’s improved jumper takes him to another level. He was already one of the best drivers in the NBA, but now he has a mid-range, post-game, and deadly outside shot to take away all the defender's options. Making him work is the best players can hope for, and Luka is only improving.
That does nothing to take away from the other best scorers in the league. Kevin Durant has to be in the running for the toughest to guard because of his height and incredible outside shooting. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and Sixers big man Joel Embiid have to be near the top of the list, and that makes no mention of LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The NBA is loaded with impossible-to-stop talent right now, so it was massive praise for Patrick Beverley to select Luka Doncic.
Beverley was traded from the Clippers to the Minnesota Timberwolves this offseason, so his first chance to matchup against Luka comes on Dec. 19. Expect the veteran guard to be ready to take on the Dallas Mavericks superstar, but as fans saw in the playoffs, it is advantage Doncic.