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Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic on Need for Co-Star: 'We Have Great Players'

Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic shared his thoughts on whether the team needs a second All-Star.

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off an impressive run to the 2022 Western Conference Finals. The excellence of Luka Doncic played an integral role in setting the tone, but he did so without having an established All-Star alongside him.

Jalen Brunson was the closest Mavericks player to a co-star in 2021-22, given his breakout regular season and even greater postseason play. However, after averaging 21.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 18 playoff games, he departed for the New York Knicks in free agency. 

The pathway to landing an established All-Star is limited for the Mavericks in the near future. Their 2023 first-round pick is owned by the Knicks, and they lack much for trade assets to entice a team if such a talent was to become available.

During an appearance on ESPN's "NBA Today" on Thursday, Doncic was asked by Malika Andrews if he believes the Mavericks need another All-Star to make the NBA Finals. 

“No," Doncic said. "I think we have great players on our team. There’s plenty very underrated guys that I think should be talked about more.”

When asked to explain, Doncic quickly highlighted Dorian Finney-Smith, a player he's previously declared a desire to spend the rest of his NBA career playing alongside. Doncic appreciates Finney-Smith's 3-and-D impact.

"For sure, number one is Dorian Finney-Smith," Doncic said. "He's worked really, really hard. He's one of the best defensive guys and if he's open, he's going to make a shot."

The 2021-22 season was a career-year for Finney-Smith as he averaged single-season highs in points (11.0), assists (1.9), and steals (1.1) while hauling in 4.7 rebounds per game and shooting 39.5 percent from 3-point range.

Finney-Smith's on-ball defensive impact served an integral role in the Mavericks' success in the postseason. In general, he handles tough matchups ranging from quick guards like Donovan Mitchell to dynamic frontcourt players like Giannis Antetokounmpo quite well. 

The 3-point shooting impact from Finney-Smith has been essential to the Mavericks and Doncic. He trailed only Jaylen Brown in spot-up possessions in 2021-22 and his output of 1.107 points per possession (PPP) ranked in the 82nd percentile overall among qualified players. 

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Doncic made it a point to highlight both Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood as some other Mavericks players that deserve to be talked about more. Both players ranked on ESPN's top 100 players list, too. 

"Spencer [Dinwiddie] is going to have a big role this year, talk about Christian Wood, he's a new player to Dallas, but I think he's going to be huge for us," Doncic said.

Dinwiddie is set to fill the role of being Doncic's starting backcourt partner following Jalen Brunson's free agency departure. After being traded midseason, Dinwiddie averaged 15.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 23 regular season games with the Mavericks. 

While Dinwiddie's efficiency on 2-point field goals was rough (41.7 percent) in the playoffs, he made timely plays in key moments for the Mavericks. There is a lot of optimism about his potential impact in 2022-23 given he was playing his first season after an ACL tear last season. 

Wood has taken his game to new heights since signing with the Houston Rockets in 2020. In the 109 games he played with the organization, he averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from 3-point range on 5.0 attempts per game. 

It does seem as though Dinwiddie and Wood have fallen under the national radar. Each player piqued the interest of national NBA experts at points in their careers. Alongside a talent like Doncic, their strengths should be maximized. 

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

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