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Mavericks: Why is Dallas struggling when Luka Doncic is on the floor?

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks are 7-4 to start the 2021-2022 season, but that may not tell the entire story. They have faced a favorable early schedule and been blown out in their four losses against projected playoff teams. Superstar Luka Doncic has yet to be otherworldly, save for his game-winning buzzer-beater against the Celtics, but there is a more troubling stat for the Mavs.

Luka has played 378 minutes through the team’s first 11 games. His numbers are down, and Doncic is struggling to sink jumpers, but his start looks worse when considering the Mavericks have been outscored by 96 points when their 22-year-old superstar was on the floor. That is the worst on the team by 34 points. Dallas has outscored the opposition by 63 points when Luka is on the bench this season.

Last season, Dallas outscored the opposition by 164 points when Luka was on the floor, and that number was plus-253 during the 2019-2020 season when the Mavericks lead the league in offensive rating. So why are they suddenly struggling when Doncic is in the game?

Why are the Dallas Mavericks struggling when Luka Doncic is on the floor?

Luka’s negative plus-minus is so stark in part because of the small sample size that includes four double-digit losses. He is playing 34.4 minutes per game, so he is on the floor for most of those blowout defeats, but that does not explain why the team is struggling when their superstar is on the floor.

Here are three reasons why the Dallas Mavericks are struggling when Luka Doncic is on the floor.