"If I'm taking one player from now for the future, it's Luka Doncic. I think he's the best player in the NBA," said Chandler Parsons in a recent interview. "What he's done at his age is incredible."
That's some incredibly high praise for Doncic – who just won the NBA Player of the Month award for February – coming from the recently retired former Mavericks forward, and at this particular moment in time, he might not be wrong either.
Luka Doncic celebrates a three-pointer.
Doncic shoots a three over Andrew Wiggins.
Doncic initiates a fast break for the Mavs as Klay Thompson trails the play.
Doncic has been on an absolute tear lately, and to no one's surprise, the overall play of the Mavs has benefited from that. He's averaging 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists over his last 10 games while shooting 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. Dallas is 8-2 during that span with big wins over the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat... well, and LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers too, even though LA far from being considered a good team right now.
"When you see [Luka] – and I never got a chance to play against him, but I've been around him – he's huge," said Parsons. "And he can't be sped up. Whether you put a Patrick Beverley on him or a Kawhi Leonard, he does what he wants. He gets where he wants, he holds [them] off in the pick-and-roll. He's got the iso step-back three [and is a] willing passer. [The Mavs] have done a great job putting shooters and lob threats around him that make him even better."
As good as Doncic is now, though, Parsons believes that his ceiling is even higher going forward if he can stay consistent with his diet and conditioning.
Doncic beat out Ja Morant for the NBA Player of the Month award in February.
Doncic attacks LeBron James down the stretch of a Mavs 109-104 win.
Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie celebrate a clutch three against the Warriors.
"When you look at his body ... he's a little pudgy," said Parsons. "He's a kid. So imagine him on a [consistent] meal plan and in the weight room – he's doing this without any of that. I think he's spectacular. I think he's destined for greatness. I think he's the best player in the NBA."
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As a byproduct of Parsons' lofty opinions of Doncic – as well as liking what he saw from the Mavs at the trade deadline – he also believes that the Mavs have a legitimate shot to make some noise in the NBA playoffs.
"Oh, [Luka] took over... quick. It's his team, it's his league. He's unbelievable, and I honesty look for [the Mavs] to make a good run in the playoffs," said Parsons.
"I love the trade for them. I love [Spencer] Dinwiddie. I think he's a great option. Guys like Luka, they can do everything, but they need those second and third players to relive pressure when Luka gets in foul trouble or he goes out. You need the Spencer Dinwiddie's of the world that go and get a bucket."
After taking what Mavs GM Nico Harrison called a calculated "gamble" on Dinwiddie, it appears that the move is paying off earlier than anyone could've expected. In his last four games, Dinwiddie is averaging 18.8 points and 5.8 assists for the Mavs off the bench. And when Doncic and Dinwiddie share the floor together (107 total minutes so far), Dallas has a 119.2 offensive rating and 105.3 defensive rating.
If that kind of productions holds up, Parsons' prediction of a deep Mavs playoff run won't seem so bold. As far as Doncic being the best player in the league? Well, if he isn't there yet, it certainly feels like he will be soon. For now, the Mavs will gladly settle for Doncic just being the best player at this point in the season.