DALLAS - "This season, I'm not playing very good,'' says Luka Doncic. "My team is almost last in the West standings. We've gotta win many more games.''
Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks' 21-year-old superstar, uttered the sharp self-criticism in an ESPN visit with Stephen A. Smith that aired on Wednesday before the Mavs' home tipoff at the AAC against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
"How do you feel about all the attention?'' asked Smith (essentially; the interviewer actually used a lot more words to ask that question).
"It's special that a lot of people talk about me ... But obviously, I have a lot of things to improve, and I have a lot of space to improve,'' Doncic said. "That's what I'm saying. I gotta improve a lot of things and just get better and better.''
Smith reacted theatrically to Doncic's evaluation, raising his voice while noting, "You're averaging 27 (points), nine (rebounds) and nine (assists). You understand that, right?''
Of course, Doncic does indeed "understand that.'' But as Mavs fans know, his view of his work isn't about all of the triple-doubles; it's all viewed by the Slovenian superstar through the prism of team success.
And the 2020-21 Dallas Mavericks, who entered this NBA season with championship aspirations, are presently 11-14 and mired in 13th place in the West.
"That's why,'' as Doncic said, he views his work this season as so-far unsuccessful. ... and it is that attitude, exactly - the high bar of expectations - why Mavs Nation trusts that Dallas, led by Luka, will soon rise in those standings.
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