New Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd kicked off Mavs' Media Day on Monday with a charismatic smile and a colorful comparison for his young superstar.
Luka Doncic is “a young Picasso,'' said Kidd, which is quite a compliment but was also delivered with a sort of "but.'' "I don’t know if anybody ever told Picasso that he had to use all the paints, but I just want to remind (Doncic) that he can rely on his teammates, that his teammates will be there to help him.”
In other words, Doncic is a master - who better needs to utilize all of his brushes and all of the paints.
This is not the first time this concept has been mentioned.
During his 2021 exit interview, former GM Donnie Nelson made some seemingly-prickly comments when discussing Doncic's 2020-21 season.
"His numbers are unique,'' Nelson said. "I think part of his maturity is again knowing how to balance all those 'kill shots' with involving teammates at the right time."
Following a postseason performance in which the superstar averaged 35 points and 10 assists, some felt it odd that Nelson still felt compelled to point at Doncic's play-making skills.
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And now, along comes Kidd offering a similar evaluation of the first-team All-NBA player Doncic.
Is this a back-handed compliment? Or simply a way to nudge Doncic, at the tender age of 22, into being even better?
Worth noting, in Kidd's defense, the mood and major storyline hovering around the start of Media Day featured Kristaps Porzingis and the desire to involve him in the offense as much as possible.
So maybe KP being top-of-mind helps the comment on Doncic to make contextual sense.
On the other hand, the comments come with the danger of feeding the narrative of Doncic not sharing the ball sufficiently.
Healthy relationships consist of compromise, and the Mavs want that for Doncic and Porzingis. Maybe Kidd's comments are designed trying to mend whatever the two teammates experienced last season. In the meantime, Luka Doncic is the guy holding the biggest paintbrush - and undeniably, wielding it with the greatest skill.