Former Mavericks’ Teammate Reveals How Luka Doncic Surprised Him

Published 01/03/2021, 6:30 AM EST
Jan 1, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) celebrates during the second quarter against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Luka Doncic is one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA today. The Mavericks guard grew leaps and bounds in just two seasons in the NBA. Doncic proved last season that he is a future superstar, and is ready for the responsibility of leading a franchise to a championship. One former teammate of his revealed how Doncic surprised him in a Mavericks pick-up game.

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Doncic surprises Barea

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Former NBA Champion JJ Barea went on JJ Reddick’s podcast to discuss a host of subjects. On the topic of Luka Doncic, Barea shared a story of a pick-up game he played with Luka Doncic when he first joined the Mavericks. Barea revealed that Doncic surprised him with his ability to play even as a rookie who had never played in the NBA.

Barea said, “When I saw Luka for the first time, he came to play pickup. We signed him, and then it was like two weeks before the season and he came to play pickup with us. And I was like ‘this guy is huge’. I had to guard him playing pick-up. And I was like ‘there’s no way he’s going by me, there’s no way’.” 

Luka Doncic plays with ease

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Barea added that Doncic was extremely comfortable playing a game of pick-up basketball. He was able to move around and score with ease. Barea revealed that Doncic was able to play around with his teammates like they were no threat to him. But despite his great play in those pick-up games, he stepped up even bigger when it was time to take a court in the NBA.

Dec 27, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) is fouled by Los Angeles Clippers guard Luke Kennard (5) in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

He added, “But for some reason, he’s so long so heavy, so strong that he was laying me up…I knew the first day I saw him play pick up with us, he was treating us like he was playing with his boys in a pickup game. I was like ‘This kid got it’…When the lights were on, that’s when I saw he was for real.”

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Luka Doncic showed even then that he was ready for the NBA. During his time in the league, he has shown that he is a bonafide superstar, and he can achieve all his goals. With Doncic at the helm, the future is bright for the Dallas Mavericks. Doncic could lead them back to an NBA championship.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1157 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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