Although the Dallas Mavericks largely remain underdogs as they begin the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, superstar Luka Doncic is arguably the best player left in these NBA playoffs.
Through two rounds, Doncic is averaging 31.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. That kind of production should continue against the Warriors, considering that Doncic averaged 31.5 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 47.6 percent from the field, including 38.2 percent form deep in four regular-season games against them.
And although regular-season success doesn't necessarily guarantee that same success in the postseason – as an example, look no further than what the Mavs just did to the league-leading Phoenix Suns – Dallas was 3-1 in those matchups with Doncic facing little resistance.
"For me, maybe I'll see a couple more double teams this series, but that's fine. We've seen double teams the whole season," Doncic told reporters when asked about the Warriors' potential defensive strategies ahead of Game 1.
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"I think we play the best when they double team me. You know, 4-on-3 basketball in the NBA. We have a lot of great players. ... We're ready for everything."
Being prepared for everything is a testament to coach Jason Kidd and his staff, who have done an outstanding job completely transforming the identity of the Mavs in just one season. Although Kidd didn't get many Coach of the Year votes – he finished tied at 6th with Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue – he'll gladly take the seven-game series win over the COTY winner (Suns' Monty Williams) instead.
Regardless of what happens at Chase Center on Wednesday night, we know the Mavs are capable of making the necessary adjustments to win a series even if they don't start off in the win column. Dallas has yet to win a Game 1 in these playoffs, but perhaps that will change this time around.
Stay tuned to DallasBasketball.com for extensive Mavs-Warriors Western Conference Finals coverage.