DALLAS - One of the main limiting factors the Dallas Mavericks faced during their first-round matchup with the LA Clippers was the load that Luka Doncic had to carry.
Doncic had to initiate offense often at such a rate that he posted a staggering 39.1% usage rate in the playoffs. He posted averages of 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 10.3 assists with great efficiency, but faced plenty of fourth quarters where he appeared worn out.
The heavy offensive load that Doncic shouldered is something that now Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd sees as something that could be adjusted. He intends to get Doncic's opinion on playing without the ball to help to alleviate pressure.
“I think when you look at the numbers, he has the ball a lot, and he is a special player when he does have the ball,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “But as we continue through this summer and this process of getting to know each other, I will throw him some different questions to get his opinion on playing without the ball, not having to bring the ball up every time to start the play, getting him on the second side."
One of the reasons Kidd has for potentially involving Doncic more off-the-ball throughout games is to keep him fresh for the duration of his NBA career, but just for single-games.
“Because when you look at the fourth quarter he wears down at times. Not all the time, but he can wear down. Sometimes we can take for granted he is 22 and feel like he’s not going to get tired. But there is longevity to this piece, too, in that we want him to play for a long time.”
Given the Mavericks' well-documented pursuit of a secondary ball-handler, there should be a greater share of opportunities for Doncic to be involved in off-ball actions, or begin possessions off-the-ball altogether.
Luka Doncic has proven to be quite successful when involved in off-ball screens, handoffs, and post-ups. All of the many variations that are present in those situations will be ideal available for the Mavericks to turn to in addition to simple spot-up plays.