Although still just 22 years old, Dončić has catapulted the Mavericks back into title contention with his elite level play.
Following a first-year campaign that saw him win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award, Dončić has earned two consecutive All-Star berths and All-NBA First Team selections.
As a result, the Mavericks inked Dončić to the largest guaranteed rookie extension in NBA history.
The Dallas Mavericks have extended the contract of two-time All-NBA First Team guard Luka Dončić.
— Mavs PR (@MavsPR) August 10, 2021
Dončić Earned Every Bit Of That Extension
In the wake of their 2011 NBA championship, the Mavericks franchise largely floundered around Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavs remained playoff hopefuls and title contenders for a time, but failed to live up to those lofty expectations.
The team was swept out of the first round as defending champs, and spent most of the intervening years middling.
Then Dončić arrived.
As a rookie, Dončić averaged 21.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists per game en route to Rookie of the Year honors.
In his sophomore season, Dončić continued his dominance, leading Dallas back to the playoffs.
That season, his averages jumped to 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game.
He earned his first All-Star berth and first spot on the All-NBA First Team.
In his third season, Dončić maintained his great play, leading the Mavericks to the playoffs once again.
During his first three seasons, Dončić became the youngest player to earn multiple All-NBA First Team selections.
He is also one of four players, joining LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Oscar Robertson, to average more that 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game through their first three NBA seasons.
Dončić currently holds the record for most playoff games played with 40-plus points before turning 23 years old.
He’s also the youngest player in league history to average at least 35 points per game in a single postseason.
Luka Doncic is the 1st player in NBA history with 275 points, 75 rebounds, 75 assists through 9 career playoff games pic.twitter.com/UZmalcrytU
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2021
Dončić Needs More Help In Dallas
But Dončić needs more help in Dallas, and the changes started at the top.
General manager Donnie Nelson was let go and head coach Rick Carlisle resigned.
Dallas brought in former Mavericks star Jason Kidd to helm the team.
“Trust me, nobody wants to get Luka (Dončić) help more than I do,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said earlier this summer.
Richardson was a useful defensive wing, but Dallas replaced him by adding Reggie Bullock.
Bullock played well for the New York Knicks last season, averaging 10.9 points per game and making 41 percent of his threes.
Hardaway played well beside Dončić over the last two seasons, netting over 39 percent of his three-point attempts.
He provides Dallas with a complementary wing scorer, floor spacer, and passable defender.
The team added Sterling Brown in free agency as well.
The 6-foot-5 wing finally found some success in the NBA last season after getting consistent minutes with the Houston Rockets.
Brown provides backcourt depth in Dallas.
These additions all indicate that the Mavericks want lengthy wing defenders and shooters surrounding Dončić at all times.
The Mavs also re-signed big man Boban Marjanović, another key piece from last year’s rotation.
But more needs to be done.
Dallas should engage the Toronto Raptors in trade talks for Dončić’s Slovenian brethren Goran Dragić, who would provide an immediate scoring lift to their second unit.