His ability to score from all three levels, hit the open man at an elite level, manipulate defenses, and impose his will on other teams has garnered comparisons to Boston Celtics great Larry Bird.
In 2020 and 2021, Doncic put up dominant numbers in first-round playoff losses, but this season, he has taken things up a notch.
In 10 postseason games thus far, he is averaging 31.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.9 steals a game, including 32.6 points a game in Dallas’ upset of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals.
Luka Doncic went off in game seven to eliminate the Suns! 😤 pic.twitter.com/Q2rt5rSTMa
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 16, 2022
Doncic is now a fully-fledged superstar, and it’s time for him to work on getting to the next level of becoming a legend.
He can start to do that by leading his team to a series win over the Golden State Warriors and a spot in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors Will Be A Huge Challenge
Beating the Suns was a tremendous accomplishment for a Mavs team that looked inferior to them on paper.
But the Warriors will be even tougher than Phoenix was, for multiple reasons.
For one, Golden State has more legitimate scoring threats than Phoenix.
Stephen Curry is a bigger threat than anyone on the Suns’ roster, as he is a two-time league MVP and the greatest perimeter shooter the sport has ever seen.
Too much “how are the Warriors going to handle Luka” and not enough “how are the Mavericks going to handle Steph”
Very interesting media angle
— Klay Thompson’s Burner (@iKlayThompson) May 17, 2022
Klay Thompson is not fully back to form following ACL and Achilles injuries the last three years, but he is slowly but surely getting there, as evidenced by his 30-point, eight-rebound, three-block performance in Game 6 of the second round versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
Head coach Jason Kidd has molded the Mavs into one of the NBA’s better defensive teams, but they will have their hands full when they take on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals starting on Wednesday.
On the offensive end, Doncic will not only have to continue to put up stratospheric numbers, but he will also have to find ways to exploit Golden State’s weaker defenders, especially Curry.
Doncic Will Have To Elevate His Team
One thing that legends do is elevate their squads above the sum of their parts, and that may be Doncic’s biggest task in this series.
The Warriors are a much more talented team on paper than the Mavs, and Doncic will not only have to empower his teammates by getting them lots of open shots, but he’ll also have to galvanize them emotionally.
He needs to get and keep them in a winning frame of mind against a team that has won three NBA championships in recent years, as well as stabilize his team when the Warriors make runs.
A Doncic-led series triumph over the favored Warriors is the type of thing that will become legendary in basketball circles, regardless of what would happen to Dallas in the NBA Finals.