BREAKING: Luka Doncic hobbled his way to the locker room after suffering a calf strain in the last game of the season.
This is pretty much a meaningless, but Dallas believe it is now a significant injury, according to ESPN.
Get well soon, Luka! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/TPwkt96jF8
— NBA Buzz (@OfficialNBABuzz) April 11, 2022
As of now, there is no timetable for his return.
The Mavs are the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will face the Utah Jazz to open the 2022 NBA Playoffs, which will present them with a stiff challenge, whether Doncic is good to go for Game 1 or not.
But if Doncic cannot play in the series, Dallas has no chance of winning.
Doncic Means Everything To Dallas
The Slovenian native, as he has the last few years, had a remarkable season, averaging 28.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game.
He is the Mavs’ floor general, and he keeps the pace slow and low, which tends to bother many other teams, as most of them would rather skip up and down the court and be in attack mode.
With the sense of control he brings his team, Doncic empowers his teammates and puts them in position to get good shots.
Convinced Luka Doncic has eyes in the back of his head 👀pic.twitter.com/Wo3HZi8gwL
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 7, 2022
He has also flashed his competitive spirit and ability to rise to the occasion under pressure, and he is an absolute threat when the chips are down.
Mavs fans will always remember the game-winning 3-pointer he hit in the 2020 postseason against the Los Angeles Clippers that helped lead to a 4-2 series victory.
As a measure of how important Doncic is to the Mavs’ success, he is far and away their leader in points, rebounds, and assists per game.
Jalen Brunson, the team’s second-leading scorer, only averages 16.3 points a game on the season, as well as 4.8 assists per game, which also ranks second on the Mavs.
It’s such a blessing to have a player who can seemingly do it all, but it’s also a curse because when he’s out, the team will have major problems.
Who Will Score Without Doncic?
Dallas will have serious problems putting enough points on the board to win without their 23-year-old phenom.
Brunson has become a good player, but most would agree that he lacks that next-level ability to score, especially when the game slows down and it’s all about hand-to-hand combat.
The same goes for Tim Hardaway Jr., and to make matters worse, he is a low-efficiency player who shot less than 40 percent from the field and 34 percent from 3-point range this season.
Other than them, the Mavs’ only viable offensive option is guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who was acquired at midseason in a trade with the Washington Wizards.
He averaged 15.8 points per game in 23 games with Dallas, but he is no All-Star.
Utah Is Formidable
The Jazz may not be considered a legitimate championship contender, but the man who will likely be a thorn on Dallas’ side is Donovan Mitchell.
In the last two postseasons, he has gone off like Fourth of July fireworks, first against the Denver Nuggets in 2020, and then versus the Clippers last year.
On any given night, Mitchell can explode for at least 40 points, putting pressure on the other team to somehow match or exceed his offensive output.
Without Doncic, the Mavs’ offense will likely be grounded, and their only hope is to win ugly.
Unfortunately, Mitchell can easily turn the upcoming Mavs-Jazz matchup into a Picasso masterpiece while making Dallas feel like they’re living in a nightmarish Salvador Dali painting.