Luka Doncic is the odds-on favorite to win MVP as he enters his third season in the NBA. Doncic is coming off a brilliant year for the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game and put together a terrific performance in the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers. Still only 21 years old, Doncic looks like he could one day become the face of the league alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
There’s just one small caveat that comes along with the Luka hype train right now: the Mavs star isn’t in his best shape as he enters the season, and he’s not afraid to admit it. After the Mavericks beat the Bucks in their second preseason game on Monday, Doncic acknowledged speculation about his weight and said he’ll get in shape eventually.
Full Doncic quote: “I mean, people on Twitter say every stuff “But, it’s true I’m not in my best shape. I will get there for sure. But, you know, I’ve never been a muscular guy, so what can I say?”
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) December 15, 2020
Doncic still finished the game with 27 points despite sitting the entire fourth quarter. Luka doesn’t need to be skinny to dominate.
Debate over Doncic’s conditioning started earlier this offseason when his Slovenian trainer Jure Drakslar said he wasn’t in top game shape, and the quote was mistranslated. While most NBA players are long and lanky, Doncic has always been a beefy boy. It’s common for NBA players to play themselves into shape during the season (hello, Shaq), and Doncic seems just fine with that arrangement. As Drakslar noted, there’s a difference between being in shape and being in NBA game shape. Doncic checks the box on the former while he tries to get back to the latter.
That hasn’t stopped fans from having fun with Doncic’s slightly bigger physique during the preseason. Who can’t relate to this right now?
At least Doncic is keeping his sense of humor about the whole thing. Here’s a highlight from the Mavs’ second preseason game against the Bucks, where Doncic poked fun at himself for looking slow.
It’s not like Dirk Nowitzki was ever known for his speed, either.
Doncic will be just fine. He’s one of the very best basketball players alive already and feels like he’s on track to one day become an all-time great. For now, there’s something relatable about an NBA star carrying around a few extra pounds at the end of 2020.
Get those resolutions ready for next year, Luka. Hopefully it’s a better year for all of us.