“MVP! MVP! MVP!”
That’s the chant that Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic has become accustomed to hearing in his young NBA career — not just from Mavs fans at American Airlines Center, but from crowds on the road as well.
Luka Doncic dropped 37 points on the Nets in a Mavs 113-111 win.
Luka Doncic takes on Joel Embiid’s Sixers on Friday night.
Jason Kidd has proven to be the perfect head coach for Luka Doncic.
The MVP race competition is stiff, Doncic’s inclusion in those talks is warranted given that he’s averaging 28.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game as the Mavs look poised to gain home-court advantage in the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Although individual awards mean a lot more to media and fans alike, Doncic has a much bigger goal on his mind after already notching two All-NBA First Team appearances before he turned 23 years old. This week, Doncic joined former Maverick J.J. Redick’s The Old Man and The Three podcast to talk about that goal and a variety of other interesting topics.
“NBA championship,” said Doncic. “That’s my next jump. That’s all I want. If I get the MVP, it would be awesome, but I always put the NBA championship before.”
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Luka Doncic championship illustration by Tyler Upchurch.
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The Mavs have become dark-horse title contenders.
The 43-26 Mavs may not be title favorites, but they’ve definitely put themselves in the realm of being dark-horse contenders with how well they’ve played in 2022. Doncic credits most of the Mavs’ elevated level of play this season to coaching and the improvements of one of his teammates.
“New coaching stuff,” said Doncic when asked about the Mavs’ success. “With [Jason] Kidd, we have built something here. We are also playing way better defense. We win with our defense”
Many people were critical of the Mavs hiring Kidd to replace long-tenured coach Rick Carlisle last summer, but that move has obviously been the right one. Being a former superstar point guard himself, Kidd has been able to relate to Doncic and the rest of the Mavs’ roster in ways Carlisle simply could not. And according to Doncic’s comments on Jalen Brunson, J-Kidd might be having the biggest impact on him than anyone else so far.
“We might be below .500 if [Jalen Brunson] wasn’t here,” said Doncic. “He’s just being unbelievable. He must be at least top-3 in the MIP [Most Improved Player] conversation.”
Doncic, Brunson, Kidd and the rest of the gang still have to get over their first-round playoff hurdle this year for many people to truly start believing in them. But the Mavs are more than capable of making a deep postseason push this year, and winning a championship has now become a goal that is more realistic than it has been in over a decade.