Mavericks’ Head Coach Reveals Why Luka Doncic’s Preparation Schedule was ‘Thrown Off’ Ahead of the Season

Published 01/05/2021, 2:53 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 best players in the NBA. The 2019 Rookie of the Year has been one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA since he joined the league. However, he hasn’t started the season the way everyone expected him to. Doncic was an MVP favorite going into the season but hasn’t played to that level.

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Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle discussed the possible reasons behind Doncic’s slow start this season. He believes that the early start to the season hampered Doncic’s preparation time significantly, and therefore, he is adapting to the league as the season goes on.

Luka Doncic looking sluggish

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Carlisle said, “Luka is one of many players that had heard that the season wasn’t gonna start until Jan. or Feb. His preparation schedule was thrown off. He just got behind the curve. Pretty clear now he’s working his way back to where he needs to be.”

As the season began, Doncic was the heavy favorite to win the MVP trophy at the end of the year. However, Doncic started the season quite poorly, with the Mavericks losing 3 of their first 7 games. And while Doncic’s offensive numbers have been good, he has looked sluggish and fatigued, especially on defense.

Doncic entered the league in 2018, as the third-overall pick in the draft. In his first season, he played excellent basketball and was a standout from his rookie class. For his performances, he was named the 2019 Rookie of the Year and named to the All-Rookie first team.

Doncic: The fastest rising player in the NBA

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In his second season, Doncic took a massive step in improving his play. He became an All-Star for the first time in his career and led the Mavericks to the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Doncic got his first playoff experience last year, as the Mavericks took on the Clippers.

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

Despite the Clippers being the favorites for the NBA championship, Luka and the Mavericks gave them a big fight. Doncic was able to get two games over the Clippers, including a last-minute shot that got the Mavericks a surprise win that year.

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Perhaps Doncic can recover his form in the next few games, and return to the level he was expected to be at. He had earlier said that he is ready to accept the MVP expectations.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 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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