Luka Doncic On COVID-19 Decision: 'I Never Hesitated; I Love Basketball'

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - Luka Doncic is well-known for his beyond-his-years firm and forceful decision-making on the court. The Dallas Mavericks second-year star and MVP candidate demonstrated the same ability when it came to returning to NBA play in a COVID-19 era.

“I never hesitated,'' Doncic said on Thursday via a Zoom call with DFW media when asked about his participation in the post-hiatus re-boot with the Mavs in Orlando. "I always wanted to play. I’ve missed basketball.”

Doncic, 21, fielded an assortment of questions in the post-practice visit, also addressing the silly "controversy'' regarding his fitness - "I am in good shape and I will get better before Orlando games start'' - and insisting that his approach to this training camp 2.0, the eight-game "seeding'' season and then the NBA playoffs in the bubble will be largely unchanged from his usual routine.

"Same thing as always, same plan, same routine,'' he said, though it was all obviously interrupted by a welcome visit back home to Slovenia (and lots of tennis and soccer to stay in shape). "It'll be a little weird without the fans (in the stands), but same routine. Same as always.''

And really, why change anything? Before the season was postponed, Doncic was putting up fabulous numbers at 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game. Doncic is the centerpiece reason the once-lowly Mavs have vaulted to a 40-27 record - good for seventh in the West with a chance to climb - going into the games in Orlando.

"We just want to win as many games as possible, go in there without pressure, have fun and reach our goal,'' Doncic said. "Play fun basketball and just keep playing together.''