Very rarely does an athlete who doesn't medal steal the Olympics. But that's exactly what the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic did, with his 28.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Doncic was the central reason Slovenia found itself with a chance to grab the bronze.
While Doncic was busy impressing fans in Tokyo, new Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd was taking notice of what the 22-year-old was doing on the world's biggest stage.
Thursday on ESPN's "The Jump," Kidd told Richard Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins that Doncic's performance proves he can carry a team on his back.
Said the Mavs new coach: "On the world stage I think Luka has (thrived.) He's not scared of the moment. I thought his team rose to the occasion, he made those guys look incredibly good. He steps up every time there's something new that he faces."
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Kidd also says he enjoyed his time in Slovenia, Doncic is "wise (beyond) his years," and that he is excited to have the opportunity to coach him. Kidd understands the pressure is on him to take what Doncic did in Japan and have that translate to success in a rigorous Western Conference.
While the MFFL's have already put him on the DFW Mount Rushmore, some critics think that Doncic needs a first-round playoff victory to justify the five-year $207 million contract extension he just signed.
Kidd and Doncic will start their march toward postseason success when training camp opens on September 28.