Mavericks' Jason Kidd Rips Defends Luka Doncic Against 'Personal Attacks' from Media

Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd used his pre-game media availability to defend Luka Doncic from wha the feels were recent "personal attacks."
Mar 17, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd speaks to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd speaks to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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DALLAS — As the Dallas Mavericks gear up to attempt to stave off elimination in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in a matchup against the Boston Celtics as they enter Friday's matchup facing a 3-0 series hole, head coach Jason Kidd defended superstar Luka Doncic from a recent media conversation in his pre-game press conference.

"No, I think it's just everybody has -- this is a free country. Everybody has the right to their opinion," Kidd said. "It's just sometimes we might take it a little bit too far, right, and understanding if you put yourself in that person's shoes, could you stand up to the barbecue, right? Sometimes we want to fry someone, but if you reversed it, and it was you being fried, would you like it? Most likely not, right? That's just the nature of the business.

"But this young man has done nothing to anyone but play the game of basketball. And when he's asked the question, he's never run from it. He's answered it," Kidd continued. "And he's 25 years old. You know, I think that's what I'm more disappointed in is that we are at the highest stage where we have one of the best players in the world playing the game the right way, but we want to criticize some of the things that he does not do well. But when he does do them well, we are going to come back and want to talk to him, and then when he says no, I'm going to pass, then what happens, right? I think sometimes it's just unfair or unwarranted to say those things."

Mar 17, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd speaks to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd speaks to Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kidd emphasized the importance to appreciate special talent while they have the chance do so. "No one in this room is perfect, right? So, like, give my man a break," he said. "Let him play the game. Because we are all here to watch him play, right? So let's just enjoy it. He's 25 years old. He will be better. Hopefully he's better tonight (laughter)."

Kidd emphasized how Doncic has established himself one of the NBA's elite talents and the external noise after reaching this stage will only help him reach even further heights.

"Yeah, I think when you look at today's athlete, the game of sport is not to be perfect," Kidd said. "When you look at what's come out here in the last day or so, if you've watched the Mavs, Luka has improved his defense. But we are asking him, or some are asking him, to be a shutdown defender. Well, he's never been on an All-Defensive Team, but he's been on five All-Pro Teams, first team. So that means he's one of the top five players in the world, and he's playing the game the right way where he can find open guys.

"But when you're on the biggest stage, there's got to be -- someone's got to poke a hole. This will only make the great ones better," Kidd continued. "When you look at, we talked about it yesterday, with LeBron, Michael, the greats, the G.O.A.T.s, they all were poked at and they came back stronger and better.

"I truly believe Luka will come back stronger and better," Kidd concluded. "Some criticize that he could never get this far. But he's here. And unfortunately as a team, he said it best: We win together and we lose together. And that's -- we lost three in a row. We are trying to find a way tonight to win. But sometimes when you are a free agent in the media business, you've got to say something crazy to get a new contract, or likes, or clicks."

Going forward, not just Doncic but the Mavericks as a whole will benefit from a greater understanding of the physical requirements to play in June through a long NBA season. Doncic is dealing with a thoracic contusion requiring pain-killing injections, which Kidd couldnt' confirm, but emphasized how Doncic has powered through it.

"Yeah, I think -- I don't get involved with the medical. So I just repeat questionable or probable or whatever he's taking. So I let that -- that's between medical and the player," Kidd said. "So I can't comment about what -- if he taking a shot. But injuries are part of the game, and it's June. Everybody's sore and tired mentally. And so it's about survival. It's about being able to understand if you've been here before, you have to train to play to June.

"These are a lot of lessons, not just for Luka but a lot of my guys are learning," Kidd explained. "And so, you know, tonight, injury or no injury, we have to go out there and play our best basketball and find a way to win. And Luka has been incredible up to this point, and has still been incredible. For whatever reason, there has been some personal attacks on him, but he will learn from them and he will be better when he comes back from it."

Stick with MavericksGameday for more coverage of the Dallas Mavericks throughout the NBA Finals.

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Grant Afseth

GRANT AFSETH

Grant Afseth is a Dallas Mavericks reporter for MavericksGameday.com and an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth). You can reach Grant at grantafseth35@gmail.com.