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A new version of Luka Doncic has been unlocked

With Jalen Brunson’s departure, Luka Doncic has another level he can reach.

NBA: Playoffs-Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Something that gets mentioned often when discussing the best basketball players of all time is their ability to find motivation. Michael Jordan is the best example of this. He always found a way to feel slighted, even though he was worshipped. He needed something to motivate him to go out and dominate.

Dallas Mavericks fans are starting to see that in Luka Doncic. There’s a noticeable shift in his game when he gets angry. “A-hole Luka” comes out and there’s red in his eyes. He’s out for blood. When that happens, if you’re the opponent, you have to just buckle up and take whatever punches are coming for you, because there’s nothing anyone can do to stop a motivated Luka.

Remember all the Devin Booker shenanigans in the 2022 Western Conference Semis? It’s safe to say Booker talking smack to Luka was a mistake. Doncic is a loveable bear who you don’t want to poke.

Now that Jalen Brunson has officially left Dallas for the Big Apple, he’s unlocked a new Luka level whether he knows it or not. When Luka heads to Madison Square Garden, he’ll be out to prove a point.

You can think whatever you want about the Jalen Brunson saga. Did the Mavs drop the ball? Is Jalen a traitor? None of it matters anymore, and it definitely won’t matter to Luka when he matches up against his former backcourt mate. In the heat of competition, all Luka will think about is that Jalen ultimately left him. Combine that with the roudy New York fans and the glitz and glam of MSG, and A-hole Luka is poised to reach unseen levels.

I’m talking Slovenian cuss words, trash-talking courtside fans, yelling at the Knicks bench (where Jalen’s father will be sitting), emphatic and-ones, demoralizing stare-downs, and maybe even a little shove or two.

When the ball is tipped in New York, Luka will look like Bruce from Finding Nemo when he smelled blood. The friendly, fun-loving guy will disappear, and A-hole Luka will be running amok.

I’ve said before that emotive Luka is my favorite Luka. I love when he has a reason to care in the regular season, and Jalen Brunson gave him a big one when they match up. It’ll be must-see TV, and I can’t wait.