‘Making His Teammates Better’: Former NBA All-Star Explains Why Luka Doncic is Already a Mature Player at 22

Published 07/10/2021, 12:52 AM EDT
May 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts during an interview after the game against the Brooklyn Nets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


The Dallas Mavericks is a 41-YO franchise but it was not until Mark Cuban took the team’s charge that they finally became title contenders. From Dirk Nowitzki to Luka Doncic, the last 21 years under the business mogul have placed the Mavs in a commanding position.

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But there still was a time in the organization’s early days, when they were showing huge promise. It was during the 80s that they had reached back-to-back five postseasons and had players like Derek Harper onboard. 

Now, three decades later, a player from those days has connected the dots leading to Luka Doncic.

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Fat Lever and his unique assessment of Luka Doncic

2x All-Star Fat Lever played for the Mavericks during the last days of his illustrious playing career. Although a knee injury took away an entire season from him, limiting his scoring prowess, the star played well in a tough era for the Mavs. 

In a recent interview, he first acknowledged Mark Cuban for being a very supportive owner. The retired great expressed, “Mark Cuban still does a lot of things for the former Mavericks player so I always congratulate Mark in everything he does.” Further, he discussed how Luka Doncic has become a shadow of one of his legendary teammates. 

The 60-YO compared Luka to 2x All-Defensive team member Derek Harper and detailed, “There was this guy Derek Harper, everyone knows him as a point guard but things that he was able to do… He’s one of those guys that really did one of everything. Luka has picked his brains because the things that I see him doing on the court as he does on the broadcast.”

Notably, Derek played 12 seasons with the Mavs and helped them reach their first WCF in 1988.

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What makes the Slovenian stand apart?

Luka is just three years old in the league and is already a 2x All-Star apart from his well-deserved rookie honor. From his 199 games, the youngster already has 36 triple-doubles as opposed to Fat Lever’s 43. So Luka Magic is undoubtedly special and sure to shine brighter in the future.

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Jun 6, 2021; Luka Doncic controls the ball against Terance Mann during game seven at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But Sir Lever had a different way to look at him when he added, “Luka is one of those guys that we always look back, to the McDonald’s Classics, that the overseas played European basketball from the NBA standpoint. He’s been playing pro ball since he has been 14. So, he is not a young guy as we see him, he is so much more mature for his age than most of the guys coming out. I love him as a player, he has to score, he distributes lane… Making his teammates better, that’s what Luka does.”

Currently, Luka is basking in the glory of his national team which has just qualified for the Olympics. His summer games’ experience will further benefit the Mavs in unique ways. Do you see Luka becoming the best Maverick ever? Help us know in the comments.

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Watch this story – Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, and Other NBA Players Representing Their Nations in the Olympics

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Sourabh Singh

1419 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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