Heading into the 2021-2022 NBA season, there has already been quite a bit of speculation about what new Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd could potentially teach 22-year-old superstar Luka Doncic to enhance his already-stellar game, and some of that talk is coming from the very top of the organization.
"J-Kidd is a Top-3 point guard in the history of the NBA," Mavs owner Mark Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com when asked about how much of an immediate impact Kidd will have on Doncic this season. "He has seen it all. The voice of his experience will mean everything."
Kidd's head coaching career has been lackluster to this point, to put it nicely, but there is something to be said for how a former player of his stature could potentially relate better to a young star like Doncic than Rick Carlisle did. So Kidd should be able to teach Doncic a new trick or two, but who is going to teach or mentor Kidd when it comes to his coaching? Assistant coach Igor Kokoskov? Jared Dudley?
Regardless of Kidd's coaching style or track record, winning games will be the biggest teacher for him for him this season, as he tries to build a better coaching resumé. Winning cures all. Winning can make a coach look better than he actually is, and having Doncic on your roster assures that your team will win a bunch of games.
So yes, Kidd will likely teach Doncic a few things individually along the way, but Doncic, as a byproduct of being a Top-5 player in the NBA over the last two seasons, will end up being Kidd's teacher as well.
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Expectations for Doncic
This is almost a humorous section of Doncic's profile to write, because how could expectations be much higher for him right now given everything he's already accomplished at such a young age? He made his second consecutive All-NBA First Team last season, nearly became the third player ever to average a 30-point triple-double, and showed out against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite ultimately losing that seven-game first round series, Doncic proved that he was doing all he could do with the help he had around him. In a decisive Game 7, Doncic dazzled by pouring in 46 points and 14 assists, and for the series overall, he averaged 35.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and 10.3 assists all while battling a cervical strain.
So, from an overall production standpoint, expectations should be about the same for Doncic. Percentage-wise, he should definitely continue to see an uptick in his three-point shooting and free throw shooting. Doncic shot a career-best 35 percent from deep last season, which can still be improved going forward, but continued to struggle from the free throw stripe, shooting just 73 percent there. For a star of Doncic's magnitude who gets to the line roughly eight times per game, that percentage must be better.
Cutting down on the technicals is something Doncic will need to work on this season, and I believe he'll do just that. Doncic will continue to mature more and more with each passing season, and with that will come less angry technicals that could potentially hurt the team.
Overall, I think it's safe to assume that, if he remains healthy, Doncic will make the All-NBA First Team for the third straight year while flirting with a triple double average yet again. And if the team wins enough games to find themselves in the top half of the Western Conference at season's end? Well, then Doncic will likely end up being your NBA MVP when that dust settles.