Dallas Mavericks basketball is back! With the return of Mavericks basketball, comes the return of Luka Doncic. Doncic is one of the greatest offensive engines in the history of basketball despite not being old enough to rent a car in most places.
Doncic is so great that he does not simply play in an attempt to be good at basketball. He plays to make art. He is a basketball Picasso, and the court is his canvas. Doncic had multiple plays that could have been the play of the night(as did Christian Wood) but this play stood out to me.
Doncic is isolated on the right wing with seven seconds on the shot clock versus Torrey Craig. Craig is primarily in the NBA because of his ability to play competent defense. He is by no means an All-NBA defender, but he is a wing with good size who understands fundamental basketball. Doncic toys with him.
Doncic gets to a spot on the floor he is comfortable from and spins the same way he would as if he was going to shoot a “Baby Dirk” fadeaway. Craig realizes this and attempts to contest the shot. Doncic counters this contest by pivoting to a layup.
There really isn’t anything to take away from this play other than that Doncic is amazing. We are blessed to watch him play. Which is why there is a bonus play of the game in this case.
In a much less heralded play from this game, that will make very few highlights, Dorian Finney-Smith made a corner three. Finney-Smith has become a very good shooter which is why the play is not surprising. The action that preceded it is a fun wrinkle the Mavericks should explore more.
Doncic sets a ball screen for Spencer Dinwiddie. It is not an exceptional screen, but it still generates a fantastic shot for the Mavericks. Because of Doncic setting the screen, he catches the ball with an advantage on Mikal Bridges. He then simply needs one dribble to get to threaten the basket, drawing help away from Finney-Smith in the corner.
How Doncic gets an easy corner three for Finney-Smith may not seem important, but it is. Doncic can make the game look incredibly easy, but he works very hard to create looks for himself and teammates. Setting ball screens and getting the ball back with an advantage means he doesn’t have to do all the work that goes into creating an advantage himself.
Passing out of a short roll has become an important part of championship basketball. Draymond Green is the best example, but most recent champions have had a good or great short roll passer. Christian Wood showed a lot of promise in this area in Game 1, but Doncic adopting this as a greater part of his game would be a serious boon for the Mavericks offense going forward.