DALLAS - The generally good-natured Luka Doncic seems angry. My sense - though the NBA has only gotten to know the Dallas Mavericks second-year star for a short time - is that foes won't like Luka Doncic when he's angry.
"Where do you get this information from?'' Doncic posted on Instagram after a flood of stories suggesting he's gotten "fat'' during the COVID-19 hiatus while back home in Slovenia. "I'm interested, too.''
Shortly thereafter, the Mavs Twitter page posted a series of photographs of Doncic in the weight room.
And, no. He has not gotten "fat.''
The origin of the malicious junk? A fairly innocuous interview with his Slovenian trainer, Jure Drasklar, in which he notes that Doncic "is not in the best shape.''
And that half-quote, taken wildly out of context, has turned into "comedic speculation'' ....
And even items disguised as "news stories.''
Unfortunately, Drasklar's full explanation of Luka's time back home - which you can read here - includes detail and nuance that didn't fit the views of the "humorists'' or the "newsbreakers.'' The quotes offering detail and nuance:
*"Most players struggle to stay in shape (in this circumstance). Doncic is no exception. ... He is not in the best shape, which is normal. NBA games will not be played before the end of July, so there is enough time to help him recover and get ready,”
*“We have been working together for the last three weeks. Luka was previously in quarantine and trained individually at home. The last three weeks we have been working hard to prepare him for the resumption of the NBA season.”
*"Luka is improving every day. He puts in a lot of effort. He has completely dedicated himself to be ready. ... However, he undoubtedly would be ready to play right now.''
*“We have taken full control of Luka’s food. We have a whole plan, our own cook who prepares meals based on my instructions. Doncic practically does not eat anything except what we cook for him.”
“The next step is returning to the States and "begin practicing with his teammates. Training alone is not enough ... He can play with his group of countrymen in Slovenia, but it is not like training alongside his teammates in Dallas.''
The trainer is now saying he was "misquoted,'' but in fact, it's not his fault ... and it's more unfortunate (and even more insidious) than that. What happened is some folks took his words and misunderstood them on purpose.
I don't know that Luka Doncic needs any motivation to be better than he already is, as the reigning Rookie of the Year and 2020 All-Star is having an MVP-level second season with averages of 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game. But if Doncic is inspired by the hate to retort on social media? It's a sign that he's angry.
The NBA won't like Luka Doncic when he's angry.