Luka Doncic is one of the most prodigious talents in the history of basketball. He is a basketball savant who does things on a nightly basis that no other player has ever done. Yet, he is not perfect.
Far too much of the workload for the Mavericks falls on Doncic’s broad shoulders. Part of that is due to flawed roster construction. Part of it is also the heliocentric approach which he believes best makes use of his unique talents. That burden leads to an increased risk of injury, and it has become an unwelcome tradition that he does indeed get injured.
It is important to remember that the combination of those talents and his usage makes it virtually impossible for him to have subpar old-school counting numbers. In the two games since he returned from his three game injury absence, he has averaged 33 points, 15.5 rebounds, 11.5 assists, two steals and a block per game.
The problem is that production has not led to wins, and Doncic is one of the reasons. Doncic has shot 24-of-54 from the floor, 4-of-17 from three in those games, and 14-of-20 from the free throw line. That leads to traditional shooting splits of 44.4 percent from the floor, 23.5 percent from three and 70 percent from the free throw line.
One of the marks of an elite player is the ability to marry volume and efficiency. Doncic has long been able to carry a Herculean workload while maintaining impressive efficiency. Recently, he has maintained the workload, but it has dragged the efficiency down.
Doncic has been getting to the rim less than he ever has all season. It is apparently a conscious choice as he has also been more efficient than ever once he gets there. Prior to the Boston Celtics game, Doncic was attempting only 11.4 percent of his shots at the rim this season. The fact that he only has one dunk all season sums up the lack of rim pressure as much as anything. He was making up for that by being perhaps the greatest floater shooter ever, and quietly having one of the greatest difficulty adjusted shooting seasons of all time.
Since he has returned, that touch has been off. It is understandable that a player would struggle after missing time with an injury and likely still dealing with lingering effects from the injury. But many of Doncic’s misses have been ugly.
If Doncic’s jumper is going to remain cold for a bit, he should renew his attacks of the rim in order to make up the difference. Aggressive Doncic has always been the best Doncic. Perhaps this shooting setback will simply be a reason for the rim attacking Doncic to return. He might even get a few more dunks.