Dallas Mavericks Training Camp Donuts ... and while Luka Doncic leads the Mavs, LeBron James leads the conversation
DONUT 1: LeBron's Luka Love
Luka Doncic has just been anointed by The King.
"I wanted to begin 'Team LeBron' and have Luka as my first signee,'' LeBron James said. "That's how much I believed in him. I feel like it's going to haunt me. I love everything he stands for, both on and off the court."
Lakers iconic superstar LeBron James is talking about shoes ... but so much more.
Dig in above for the video of James praising Luka ... plus Doncic's new contract arrangement ... and ...
DONUT 2: Speaking Of 'Anointment' ...
Dallas vs. The Lakers on Christmas Night.
READ MORE: A Very Mavvy Christmas
We continue to see NBA watchers discuss who is going to take the baton from LeBron as he advances nearer his late 30's.
And we continue to instruct them to open their eyes to what everyone from LeBron to the league itself is trying to tell them.
DONUT 3: Injury Update
Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson are back.
I'm “full-go,'' said Powell.
I'm "100-percent, ready to go, plain and simple,'' said Brunson.
The headline issue around here, when it comes to rehab, involves Kristaps Porzingis. The Mavs believe KP's knee will be fully healthy in January; for now he's doing "light shooting'' at practice.
But Powell and Brunson matter, too. Read above for a look inside their start to camp.
DONUT 4: Who Let The Dawgs In?
"The dawgs,'' Josh Richardson said in a video of him sharing a flight to Dallas with James Johnson, "is on the way.''
READ MORE: Mavs Camp: Doncic Meets 'The Dawgs'
This might be the first thing we notice when the Mavs actually take the floor. The Mavs are inching toward having "toughness'' match "offense'' as a trait.
Johnson is a black-belt in Karate with MMA training and "Bloodsport'' as a nickname. Richardson is well above him on the rotational totem pole; he's a starter who can help on both ends.
Rookie Josh Green? Coach Rick Carlisle talked about throwing his rookies into "the deep end,'' but we think he's talking about practice and the learning curve - not having Green play substantial minutes in substantial games just yet.
DONUT 5: A New Wes Wants In, Too
And then there is Wes Iwundu, a 6-6 perimeter defender who, due to his 7-foot-1 wingspan, defends and contests shots. ... and visits with us on our DallasBasketball.com Mavs Step Back Podcast.
Listen up ... and you'll hear Wes explain why he wants in that "Dawg'' house, too.
DONUT 6: Quotable
“The thing I can bring is toughness, I can bring leadership. And I can bring defense. I’m kind of a gap-filler. From night to night, I can fill in where I need to.” - Josh Richardson.
DONUT 7: Preseason - Then At Phoenix
Mavs vs. Suns in an NBA season-opener? There's a shocker.
READ MORE: Dallas Mavs Season Opener Announced
Not really. It's kind of a "thing'' now. And this year? Mavs vs. Bucks - a chance for Luka and Giannis to exchange notes - is a preseason "thing,'' too.
DONUT 8: Title Talk
Give Luka credit. This incredible boom in confidence, in belief of what the Mavs are and where they are going, is largely being driven by him. And he's so ... nonchalant about it.
READ MORE: Luka: On Beating COVID To Being The Champ
"I want to win the championship,'' Doncic said. "And that's the goal we're going to enter this year as a whole group."
DONUT 9: Big Trade
Houston Rockets stars are jumping ship.
First off: Russell Westbook in trade, as he's heading to Washington in exchange for John Wall.
We say Wall doesn't have much gas left in his tank and we say James Harden will likely be next to want out.
Meanwhile, we say that Bradley Beal will eventually tire of being Westbrook's sidekick (surely the way Russ will look at it) ... at which time Beal will himself finally look for an escape from the Wiz.
And yes, we're only half-kidding when we ponder how sweet Beal would look in a Dallas uniform.
DONUT 10: Luka's Tool Box
Doncic is, at 21, one of the handful of greatest players on the planet. Incredibly, though, he's the guy who more can be asked of.
And he is visibly getting better as he grows. It's a Dallas tradition (see: Nowitzki, Dirk) to use the offseason to "add a tool to the toolbox.''
And Luka's already said it: Free throws.
DONUT 11: What's On Tap
The regular season is scheduled to begin on Dec. 22. And it'll be odd; it's a 72-game slate constructed to come out in two parts, "The First Half'' and "The Second Half.'' (The schedule for the First Half of the season, which will run from Dec. 22 to March 4, will be released shortly).
But first comes this week of camp, followed by a trio of preseason game: At Milwaukee, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., at Milwaukee, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m and home vs. Minnesota, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.
All three games are scheduled to be televised on FOX Sports Southwest.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
“When you establish that you’re a galactically successful offensive team, but below average defensively, that’s not going to win you a championship. I don’t believe there’s ever been a team that’s won a title in the NBA that hasn’t been a good defensive team.'' - Rick Carlisle, making up cool words to inspire his team at both ends.