The Dallas Mavericksguard Luka Doncic, who is averaging 32.8 points, 8.1 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game this season, said after Tuesday’s 132-130 loss against the Atlanta Hawks that it is “really hard” for him to play hard on both ends of the floor.
“I’m not going to lie to you, it’s really hard for me to play really hard,” Doncic said. “I’m not in that great of a shape. I’ve got to work on that. It’s hard to play 38 minutes like that.”
Doncic has been criticized for his lack of defensive effort and intensity, especially in clutch situations. He said he is trying to improve his conditioning and his defense, but he also acknowledged that he needs help from his teammates.
“I‘ve been playing basketball for 3 straight years. 4 weeks in between it was free,” Doncic said. “Sometimes it’s really hard for me to play really hard on both ends. But obviously, the defensive end I gotta be way better.”
Doncic’s offensive brilliance may mask his defensive flaws, but it also raises some questions about the Mavs’ playoff chances. The Mavs are currently eleventh in the Western Conference with a 37-42 record and are out of the play-in games.
Luka Doncic’s defense could hurt the Mavs’ playoff hopes
The Mavs have been one of the best offensive teams in the league, ranking third in offensive rating (116.1) and second in effective field goal percentage (56.5%). But they have also been one of the worst defensive teams, ranking 22nd in defensive rating (112.5) and 25th in opponent effective field goal percentage (54.7%).
Doncic’s defense has been a major factor in the Mavs’ inconsistency. According to NBA.com/stats, the Mavs have a net rating of +5.9 when Doncic is on the court and -3.2 when he is off the court. However, when Doncic is on the court, the Mavs have an offensive rating of 120.1 and a defensive rating of 114.2, meaning they are outscoring their opponents by 5.9 points per 100 possessions. When Doncic is off the court, the Mavs have an offensive rating of 105.4 and a defensive rating of 108.6, meaning they are being outscored by 3.2 points per 100 possessions.
This suggests that Doncic’s offense is so good that it compensates for his defense, but it also means that the Mavs are vulnerable when he is not on the floor or when he is not playing at his best.
Doncic has shown that he can be a dominant force in the NBA, but he also has room for improvement. If he can play harder and smarter on defense, he can elevate his game and his team to another level.
Ankush Singh is an Editor for FirstSportz. He specializes in NBA news and articles. He enjoys watching the game because it is full of action, drama, and thrill. He likes to spice up his sports stories with humor and flair, but also with facts and accuracy. His goal is to make the readers laugh and learn about the latest NBA buzz.
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